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Peter Loewen
American Record Guide, January 2019

…Periodic phrasings and pairs of horns in the orchestration seem to point to Graun’s alignment with burgeoning classical aesthetics. Mauch has a lovely voice… The tenor aria ‘Ew’ger Sohn, Erhaltner Segen’ (Georg Poplutz) is lovely—gentle, lyrical, galant in style. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Classical Music, December 2018

Graun shines with inventive choruses, graceful solo numbers and colourful orchestration in 80 magical minutes of elegant celebration. © 2018 Classical Music

Bertil van Boer
Fanfare, May 2018

The performance of this work is excellent. Soprano Monika Mauch is suitably clear and bright in tone, while alto Marion Eckstein has a dark and rich voice. Mauch’s soprano is matched by Georg Popultz’s light and bright tenor, while bass Raimund Nolte is powerful and resonant. The playing by L’arpa festante is, as expected, excellent too, with Thomas Gropper choosing just the right tempos to keep the music lively. In short, it may be overstating things to regard Graun’s oratorio as either equivalent or substitute for the iconic works of the season, but with a recording such as this, it can give them a run for their money. © 2018 Fanfare

Ralph Graves
WTJU, December 2017

The soloists for this recording are first-rate. I particularly liked the warm, rounded voice of alto Marian Eckstein. The Arcis-Vocalisten München and the Barockorchester L’arpa festante have a big, full ensemble sound.

This is a well-written work performed with vigor and energy. © 2017 WTJU Read complete review

David Vickers
Gramophone, December 2017

…Graun’s finely crafted arias are performed by accomplished soloists. Georg Poplutz sings with stylishness and sincerity (albeit occasionally a little strain): ‘Erfülle mich, du holdes Wesen’ has the distinctive colour of two bassoons, and there is a fivestring violoncello piccolo doubling the tenor voice throughout ‘Ew’ger Sohn, erhaltner Segen’. Raimund Nolte’s searing ‘Abgrund krache, Tod erzittre’ conjures pseudo-operatic turbulence, whereas there is serene pastoral delicacy in Monika Mauch’s ‘Zeit und Stunde sind erfüllt’ (featuring attractive concertante flutes). Mauch and Marion Eckstein combine gorgeously in the duet ‘Herr, im Frieden will ich sterben’ (featuring a gentle pair of horns)—moments like this make it easy to admire Graun’s masterful utilisation of varied instrumentation and melodicism. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, November 2017

The united forces of Arcis-Vocalisten, L’arpa festante and good soloist singers give a well prepared and reliable performances of Graun’s Christmas Oratorium. © 2017 Pizzicato

Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, November 2017

The soloists deliver outstanding performances. I regret the slight vibrato of Marion Eckstein, but she sings the first aria ‘Erscheine doch und komm’ in a very expressive manner. Impressive is Raimund Nolte, whose powerful voice is perfectly suited to the only bass aria, ‘Abgrund krache, Tod erzittre’: “Abyss crash, death tremble, hell vanish and close, because my Saviour is coming”. Georg Poplutz has the perfect voice for the tenor arias and recitatives, as well as immaculate diction and articulation. The soprano arias receive an excellent performance thanks to the radiant voice of Monika Mauch. In all arias the ornamentation is spot on: stylish and never exaggerated. The text is always clearly intelligible. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Records International, October 2017

This 79-minute oratorio was only discovered in the 1990s and is undated although it combines stylistic elements of Graun’s pre-Berlin years (before 1742) with works from the 1750s like Der Tod Jesu. Arias are particularly richly varied and colorfully instrumented. © 2017 Records International

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