That Bach Musica has earned a loyal following over more than three decades was only too evident from the almost capacity audience drawn to its Sunday performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

Even the notoriously unhelpful acoustics of the venue could not dim the enthusiastic glow that took over the Cathedral, resulting in repeated curtain calls for soloists and conductor.

Rita Paczian marshalled her forces with her customary precision and there was a definite sense of celebration afoot from Bach's triumphal opening chorus.

Exhilaration is a key element in this work, and it was caught with seemingly unquenchable drive. Paczian also took care to characterise Bach's crucially placed chorales, nowhere more so than in the penultimate moment of reflection provided by Ich will dich mit Fleiss bewahren.

Nice touches in the presentation included asking woodwind soloists to stand during some of the arias they participated in and, from oboists Alison Dunlop and Alison Jepson to Ben Hoadley with his agile bassoon, they had every reason to be proud of their playing. Flautist Adrianna Lis came out of the orchestra to stand alongside tenor John Murray and add a shapely obbligato to his big aria.

Also on the instrumental side, Peter Reid and his trumpeting colleagues acquitted themselves with all the necessary brilliance.

Amongst the soloists, alto Sarah Court stood out, singing her many contributions with unfailing understanding of the idiom, and the sort of exquisitely considered phrasing that can only come from superb breath control. Even a less than distinguished violin obbligato in her final aria could not distract her.

If Daniel O'Connor's very worthy contributions lacked the final authority and gravitas that this music calls for, then blame it on the youth of this talented bass. He was at his most comfortable duetting with the beautifully poised soprano of Gina Sanders in Herr, dein Mitlied, dein Embarmen.

John Murray has disappointed before. Recitatives fulfilled their function but were often pinched in tone; his great aria Frohe Hirten was a struggle that was palpably beyond the tenor's abilities, a regrettable blemish in a programme of otherwise solid music-making.

What: Bach Musica.

Where: Holy Trinity Cathedral.

When: Sunday.