Philips' 1999 recording of J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio features the choir of Leipzig's St. Thomas Church, the church Bach was serving when he wrote the piece in 1734. Georg Christoph Biller leads the choir and the excellent Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a lively performance of the celebratory masterpiece. The choir and orchestra are larger than standard for historically informed interpretations of the piece, but the singing and playing are both agile and substantial. Among the soloists, tenor Christophe Prégardien and bass Klaus Mertens have the strongest international reputations, but soprano Barbara Schlick and mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef also deliver fine performances. Philips' sound is clean and clear.