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Bach - Christmas Oratorio - Presto Classical

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… First up is a fresh, vibrant account of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio from Stephen Layton and the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, whose partnership is proving to be a very fruitful one where Bach is concerned. There’s a real sense of jubilation right from the opening chorus; the young mixed-voice choir sing with verve and immaculately crisp diction, and the chorales are phrased with tender loving care.

The soloists are also top-drawer. Matthew Brook delivers an imposing account of the great bass aria ‘Grosser Herr’, and James Gilchrist brings his customary eloquence to the role of the Evangelist as well as despatching the fiendish coloratura of ‘Frohe Hirten’ with poise. Newcomer Katherine Watson (an alumna of the university) contributes some beautifully shaped solos and displays a warmth and tonal clarity which are ideal for Bach, whilst countertenor Iestyn Davies’s limpid arias are simply some of the finest accounts on disc. …

Katherine Cooper

Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Hyperion Records CDA68031/2