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Bach: Christmas Oratorio (2012)

 NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,400 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This DVD contains an outstanding recording from the Salle Henry Le Bouf in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in December 2012 with the internationally-renowned Bach expert Philippe Herreweghe, winner of the Bach-Medal, the Collegium Vocale, and superb soloists Dorothee Mields, Damien Guillon, Thomas Hobbs and Peter Kooij. This recording includes all six cantatas and subtitles in English, German, French and Japanese.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best All-Around Video & Audio of the Oratorio December 4, 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Philippe Herreweghe and the Collegium Vocale Gent are distinguished Bach interpreters, and have recorded a large portion of the cantatas. On the 20th of December in 2012, they made this live recording of the Christmas Oratorio in Bruxelles (if you're French) or Brussel (if you're Flemish) at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, which is a rather stark venue and with no Christmas garlanding of any kind. The audience at least got to look up and see the large organ pipes, which none of the cameras were able to capture. With the performers all dressed in black, this video looks like it should be one of the passion oratorios, but it sounds like Christmas, anyway. The sixteen singers stand in a semi-circle behind the small orchestra--four female sopranos, one female and three male contraltos, four tenors and four basses. The alto soloist is Damien Guillon, as Michael Chance was for Herreweghe in 1988.
How does this video compare with others? Harnoncourt's 1981 film stands up very well both as video and as audio. The robed boy choirs and abundant decorations give this video a real feeling of Christmas. Beringer filmed in a church in 1991, but for the DVD release the aspect ratio has been cropped to create artificial widescreen, and as a result the motion is choppy. Gardiner filmed in a church in 1999 at the very beginning of his Cantata Pilgrimage, but the audio quality on that DVD is lacking, and it should be remastered.
Crystal Classics just released a Pure Audio Blu-Ray of a 1991 recording, with Ralf Otto conducting the Concerto Köln Vokalensemble Frankfurt and distinguished soloists Ziesak, Groop, Pregardien and Mertens. As for Herreweghe, small forces are used. Both blu-rays have a choice of PCM stereo or DTS HD Master Audio--5.0 for Otto and 5.1 for Herreweghe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This disc was recorded during one performance in December 20 2012. This is worth noting because, unlike many 'live' performances, it has not been stitched together from several 'live' performances and is a genuine one-off performance. Bearing that in mind, the recording is remarkably successful by avoiding distractions such as any hint of audience noise or restlessness. Bach intended it to be a continuous work but performed over a period of six days, one for each cantata over the Christmas period. That replay option may suit many viewers, but the audience on this occasion clearly found the complete six cantatas performed as one continuous work to be a very satisfying experience and listen with rapt attention throughout.

The accuracy of the playing over such an extended time is also a tribute to the skills of the orchestral players and the singers. The trumpets are worth a special mention as the high lying, and often solo writing, of the lead trumpet is especially demanding and Alain De Rudder plays with apparent and consummate ease. Other orchestral soloists worth a special mention are Christine Busch as lead violin, Marcel Ponseele on oboe and Benoit Laurent on the oboe Da Caccia. All of these play with total surety and with first class tonal control, as indeed, do their colleagues as a group.

The small mixed choir also deliver an excellent performance with well modulated tonal control and well balanced part singing. The four soloists, Dorothee Mields (soprano), Damien Guillon (alto), Thomas Hobbs (tenor) and Peter Kooij (bass) make an excellently balanced group on the rare instances when they sing in partnership with each other, but more particularly as soloists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't be matched March 9, 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
As one who has long loved this oratorio, I think this is by far the best performance on disks. Beautifully played on period instruments and sung by a small, but effective choir. Heartfelt playing and singing by people who love the music.
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2 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not an English version. December 21, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This item was purchased because the website description says "English", but it was in the original German. Neither were there any subtitles. I am returning it.
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