No, I’m not religious at all. However, my favorite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach, specially his sacred works. In my opinion, if I had to choose a music to represent mankind, it would be his St. Matthew Passion.
There is no other musician that can be compared with Bach. (No, don’t try to convince me otherwise!).
For Christmas, my favorite performance is this: Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachtsoratorium), conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, with soloists Peter Schreier (tenor, perfect), Robert Holl (bass), Concentus Musicus (tenor and bass choral) and the wonderful boy’s choral Tolzer Knabenchor.
In that performance, recorded around 1981, I call your attention for the 3 excellent boy sopranos soloists. One of them I have identified as being Allan Bergius, the one with the most “angel-like” voice, who sings the difficult and beautiful terzett “Ach, wenn wird die Zeit erscheinen?”, along with Peter Schreier and the boy alto soloist Stefan Rampf, who also has a splendid perfomance overall (being the only alto soloist in whole oratorio), given the difficulty of the cantatas and the need for a maturity that is impossible to ask for such young boys. Another boy soprano soloist (a curly-haired boy) has an incredible soprano-dramatic voice, very rich in the middle, low range, with potent high notes and great musicality, but I could not identify his name. To him, is given the lovely “echo-aria”, “Flößt, mein Heiland”, as well as the dramatic and demanding aria “Nur ein Wink von seinen Händen”. The third boy soloist is the blond, long-haired one, who I also could not identify his name– he has a very soft and small voice, but exceptional musicality, who is given the sweet duett “Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen”, along with the bass soloist Robert Holl.
The expressiveness of Nikolaus Harnoncourt also makes this DVD a very special one.
I think I have watched this performance more than a hundred times, and I can sing all soprano parts (even other parts) from my heart. I recommend it to anyone, anywhere, anytime. But, specially, this time.
Overview of the choral.
The boy soprano with an angel voice, identified as the very young Allan Bergius. Wonderful perfomance of difficult parts.
Excellent boy soprano, dramatic and versatile voice.
Soft voiced soprano with great expressiveness and musicality.
Beautiful alto voice; complete control of all alto pieces. Identified as Stefan Rampf.
A wonderful Oratorio passage: tenor Peter Schreier with his very young (but very professional) singer colleagues in a demanding part.