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SACD Review

Johann Sebastian Bach

Weihnachtsoratorium - Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248

  • Lynn Dawson
  • Bernhard Landauer
  • Charles Daniels
  • Klaus Mertens
Coro della Radio Svizzera, Lugano
I Barrochisti/Diego Fasolis
Arts 47714-8 2 Hybrid Multichannel SACDs 135m DDD
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I have come to this recording a year after its release on the market but since it's a Christmas Oratorio, the period is just right. Diego Fasolis and his marvelous orchestra 'I Barrochisti' are providing a true service to all baroque music lovers with a series of stunning SACD recordings for the German Arts label and this set of Bach's cantata masterpiece is no exception.

The six cantatas come alive in Fasolis' no nonsense readings that are swift and energetic but never lose sight of the big picture. The famous opening sequence of the First Cantata sets the tone for proceedings which move along quite merrily; particular praise is here due to the Swiss radio Chorus who are infectious in their full throated and high spirited singing.

As already indicated, this is a swift interpretation rather in keeping with today's rough and tumble world and although there are superior readings from such luminaries as Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Karl Richter, I must place Fasolis amongst the top five or so of those conductors who have something new to say about this beautiful and timeless work. The Arts engineers have produced a superb sound picture which is further improved if one has SACD equipment and the notes also provide some interesting historical points. The mid to budget price is an additional teaser for those wavering to make that purchase.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech