J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

St. Matthew Passion

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Rudolf Mauersberger
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Soloists:Peter Schreier, Tenor (Evangelist)
Theo Adam, Bass (Jesus)
Adele Stolte, Soprano
Annelies Burmeister, Alto
Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Tenor
Guenther Leib, Bass
Individual Works:St. Matthew Passion (Passio Secundum Matthaeum)
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Berlin Classics
Catalog Number:0021442bc
Year Released/Recorded:Around 1977
Total Playing Time:3:15:00
Comments:Charles B. Lott said:

This recording is among the finest interpretations of Bach's monumental work by performers using modern instruments. It succeeds in avoiding both over-romanticism and bone-dry pedantry. It also happens to be a tour-de-force in stereo listening. Unfortunately, it may not have been re-issued on
compact disks; but if it is available in any form, by all means, get it.

Ron Thomsen said:

To the previous reviewer- Yes it is now available on CD. Mauersberger shows an unusual expressiveness that effectively captures the message of this work. He shows a power dimension lacking in most "authentic" performances and almost matches Klemperer in that regard, and a sensitive quality not always noticeable in an otherwise great recording by Klemperer. While some can find a particular element that somebody else does a little better (eg more "authentic", or else the power that Klemperer gives the chorus "Sind Blitze, sind Donner), this is by far the best all-around recording one can find. It certainly is an expression of faith as much as any recording one can find.

David Glenn Lebut Jr said:

Unlike what has been said about this recording (which was also included in Volume 3 of Bach: Made in Germany), there were *2* conductors (both brothers) in this recording: Erhard *and* Rudolf Mauersberger, wich Erhard as the principal conductor, conducting both the Thomanerchor Leipzig and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, whilst brother Rudolf Mauersberger conducted his own ensemble, the Kreuzchor Dresden.

In addition, the recording was *not* made around 1977. It was made during Erhard Mauersberger's time as Thomaskantor (between 1961 and 1972). In 1972, he was replaced by the man that was listed as Tenor soloist in the recording: Hans-Joachim Rotzsch. The Thomaskantoren seem to hold a decade-long tenure of office. Karl Straube was Thomaskantor from 1918 and throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Gūnther Ramin was Thomaskantor throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s (ending his tenure in 1956). Kurt Thomas replaced him, lasting throughout the latter 1950s. Then came Erhard Mauersberger, who held the post throughout the 1960s. Rotzsch held the post throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The current one (Georg Christoph Biller) replaced Rotzsch in 1991.

On another note, Rotzsch did for CD what Straube did for radio, coming close to a complete series of Bach Sacred Cantatas on CD.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Charles B. Lott
  • Ron Thomsen
  • David Glenn Lebut Jr
Date First Submitted:04/15/1996