J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

St. Matthew Passion

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Frans Bruggen
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Orchestra of the 18th Century
Soloists:Nico van der Meel, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Maria Christina Kiehr, Mona Julsrud, Claudia Schubert, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Ian Bostridge, Toby Spence, Peter Kooy, Harry van der Kamp
Individual Works:St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Philips
Catalog Number:454 434-2
Year Released/Recorded:1996
Total Playing Time:2h39'57"
Comments:Ryan Hare said:

A compelling, subtle, and instense performance. Not as exhibitionist in terms of conducting as some, this performances accumulates tension. The instrumentalists are uniformly superb, but there are some weaknesses among some of the soloists. The Evangelist, Nico van der Meel, might not be to everyone's taste, and perhaps could be accused of being a bit mannered sometimes, but nothing that bothers me particularly. Also the choral sound is a bit on the unclear side, in fact the recording quality in generally wants for "space" or "room to breathe." However, this seems like a cavil given the strengths of the performance as a whole.

Martin Sweaney said:

I am willing to accept a variety of styles of interpretation, and this one tends to the the intimate. Some of the chorales are a bit on the fast side, but I am bowled over by the beauty of the complicated ensemble numbers, which are never showy. The very sparing use of vocal vibrato is quite effective at moments of dissonance. The instrumental soloists are right on the money. Hats off to a fine performance.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Ryan Hare
  • Martin Sweaney
Date First Submitted:06/19/2001