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Great review in Choir & Organ (UK)

January 10, 2024

Brian Morton

Hugo Distler: Die Weihnachtsgeschichte, Opus X
Adam Riis (t, Evangelist), Johanne Farup (s, Angel of the Annunciation), Beke Pfann (a, Virgin Mary), Ida Cecilie Holm (a, Elisabeth), Niels Peder Skaarup Gejel (b, Herod), Søren Tjagvad (b, Simeon), Concert Clemens/ Carsten Seyer-Hansen (dir.) OUR Recordings 32 [40:17]
In 1933, the German people did indeed walk in darkness. The coming of Hitler began the catastrophe that undermined Distler's belief in mankind and finally his sanity. Having witnessed the destruction of his beloved Lubeck, he took his own life in 1942. His Christmas Oratorio is a gem. Inspired by Schutz, using the Luke and Matthew nativity texts and various iterations of the old hymn 'Es ist ein Ros entsprungen´ which transforms constantly through the piece, it is among the most unaffectedly spiritual attempts to capture both the human and the cosmic drama of Christ's birth. Concert Clemens sing with equally unaffected simplicity, and this seems a slightly brisker Distler than usual, sung in 40 minutes flat - but 40 minutes of pure delight. 4 stars Brian Morton, Choir & Organ, January/February issue

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