Camille Saint-Saens: Oratorio de Noel (Speck)
Composed by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). German title: Oratorio de Noel /Speck. Oratorios, Christmas. CD. Published by Carus Verlag (CA.8335200).
Item Number: CA.8335200
To equate the concept of the "Christmas oratorio" with the work of J. S. Bach distorts our view of the great variety to be found within this genre. Thus, the Oratorio de Noel of Camille Saint-Saens is an important and enriching part of the repertoire. This ten-movement work is presented by an unusual ensemble: The vocal part, with string quintet and organ accompaniment, is augmented by the special sonorous effect of a harp, which lends a special atmosphere to the piece. This atmosphere-evoked through gentle harmonies, straightforward choral settings and the almost chamber music-like use of the orchestra-is interrupted by only a few dramatic passages. The resulting tensions lead to the engaging charm of this work, which also explains the worldwide success of the oratorio. The Vocalensemble Rastatt, Les Favorites and the organist Romano Giefer under the baton of Holger Speck show, with their distinct interpretation, that the concept of the "Christmas oratorio" encompasses many more impressive facets than is often assumed.