J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

St. Matthew Passion

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Concentus Musicus Wien, Winer Sängerknaben, Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Soloists:Christoph Prégardien, tenor (Evangelist)
Matthias Goerne, bass (Jesus)
Christine Schäfer, soprano 1
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano 2
Bernarda Fink, contralto 1
Elizabeth von Magnus, contralto 2
Michael Schade, tenor 1
Markus Schäfer, tenor 2
Dietrich Henschel, bass 1
Oliver Widmer, bass 2
Individual Works: St. Matthew Passion
BWV 244
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Teldec
Catalog Number:8573-81036-2
Year Released/Recorded:2001
Total Playing Time:disc 1: 70'43"
disc 2: 60'54"
disc 3: 30'38"
Related Web Site:http://www.warner-classics.com/teldec/daw/daw_frame2.htm
Comments:Enhanced CD (mac/pc) contains full autograph score.

Review by Jan Hanford:

Performance: gorgeous
Recording: perfect

Bach's St. Matthew Passion has long been considered by many to be one of the greatest musical works in history and Bach's largest, most successful and important work. Felix Mendelsohn revived the work in 1829 which resulted in a resurgence and rediscovery of Bach's music that is flourishing to this day.

In my opinion, this is the ultimate recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. Everything about it feels and sounds right, from the tempos to the consistently high quality of the soloists. It is a stunningly beautiful and emotionally moving interpretation. Spanning 3 discs, there is an enormous amount of music here. Breathtaking chorals, delightful arias and wonderful instrumentation. This is not only Bach at his best but a new triumph in the long career of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, one of our most important conductors.

The recording itself is perfect, with a rich echo and wonderful stereo placement of the choirs. Packaged as a book with sleeves for the cd's, illustrations, extensive notes and complete libretto (in 3 languages) makes this a superlative presentation. Teldec has not only brought us one of the most beautiful recordings ever made but the inclusion of the cd-rom makes this a must-have. It is an amazing experience to be able to page through the autograph score. Zooming in to view Bach's hand-written notes, the paper sadly deteriorating after centuries, was fascinating and emotionally moving for me. A piece of genius captured and digitized forever, instantly available on our cd players and computers; the new millenium Bach has arrived and it is gorgeous.

Acknowledgements:From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:04/02/2001