Bach: Christmas Cantatas (3CD)

Warner Classics
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Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

The proportion of Oratorio performances on period instruments rose significantly during the 1970s. Nikolaus Harnoncourt had quickly established his Bach credentials in the first volumes of the complete cantata series, co-directed with Gustav Leonhardt, and in 1972 recorded a this performance which, in addition to his usual singers, employed a treble from the Vienna Boys’ Choir to sing all the soprano arias. The essence of this pioneering reading is captured in the visceral, chamber-like instrumental playing of Concentus Musicus, a kind of Renaissance-style pageantry to the choruses, an intimate acoustic and the extraordinary veracity of Kurt Equiluz’s Evangelist.

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