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Distler’s suicide in 1942 allowed him to escape from further entanglement with the Nazis – call-up to a Panzer division was the last straw. In just half a decade he revitalised musical life in Lübeck before the new regime made things unbearable and he had to move on. At just 34, he left behind a remarkable body of church and organ music, none of it more glowingly alive than his lovely op.10 Advent oratorio and the other Christmas pieces included here. The solo parts are sung with almost defiant intensity and are a lot tougher than some versions. Klaus-Martin Bresgott keeps the singers working hard through the motets as well, and contributes a fascinating text collage to replace one text compromised by contact with National Socialism. Christmas record of the year.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing