J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings


Main Performer
or Conductor:
Helmuth Rilling
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Stuttgart Kanterchor
Soloists:Christiane Oelze-soprano
Ingeborg Danz-alto
Michael Schade-tenor
Matthias Gorne-bass (Christ)
Thomas Quasthoff-bass (Arias)
Individual Works:St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Hanssler
Year Released/Recorded:1994
Total Playing Time:2:57:14
Related Web Site:http://www.bachakademie.de/
Comments:Lawrence Gustafson said:

First of all, the clarity of this recording is impeccable. A full dynamic of sound can be heard, from each section of the orchestra as well as the choir, which is more than I can say from other recordings I have heard.

The soloists also have incredible tonal qualities which are carried over beautifully through this recording. They have flawless technique while still imbuing the text with the "passion" it so richly deserves. Christiane Oelze beautifully flows through her solo passages, weaving harmonically through the flute accompaniment in "Aus liebe mein Heiland sterben." She also blends well with the alto, Ingeborg Danz, in "So ist mein Jesu nun gefangen." This alto is also quite talented, portraying the sorrow in the renowned "Erbarme dich."

Michael Schade triumphs in tackling the role of the Evangelist as well as the arias for tenor. His piercing timbre is perfect for the portrayal of the tumultuous trial and crucifixion. His timbre can also be smooth and melodic for the softer passages such as the somber "Geduld." Thomas Quasthoff performs all four of the lengthy bass arias well, transitioning between the driving "Komm, Susses Kreuz" to the softer, more melodic "Mache dich,mein Herze, rein." He carries a complete range of highs and lows which are well expressed in the "Mache dich."

Last but not least of the soloists is Matthias Gorne. He has been a student under Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a renowned "Christ" of an earlier era, (EMI Classics, Klemperer). It is clear that he has followed his teaching well, as he portrays a powerful and moving "Christ" and, with all due respect, a warmer and deeper quality of
tone than that of the more lyric Fischer-Dieskau.

Helmuth Rilling brings it together as conductor, with the choir and orchestra that he formed several years before. It is rewarding to hear this piece with a mostly German choir as the diction is precise with the "muss" and "ich" coming in and ending on time in the "surround" chorales as well as the "standard" chorales. The orchestra plays well with the choir, and the solo instrumentalists do a good job of "doubling" the solo vocalists.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Lawrence Gustafson
Date First Submitted:11/02/1997