J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

St. Matthew Passion

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Karl Richter
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Municher Bach-Orchester
Soloists:Edith Mathis
Janet Baker (now Dame)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Peter Schreier
Mattin Salminen
Individual Works:St. Matthew Passion
BWV 244
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Archiv Produktion
Catalog Number:427704-2
Year Released/Recorded:1980
Total Playing Time:3hrs 15mins
Comments:Tim Ruffle said:

This is on a BUDGET label! Incredible- I suppose the thinking is that if it isn't all digital it's no good. I can't beleive this hasn't been recommended to your site before this.

I won't claim to be an expert on Bach or recording technology so I shall just say that it sounds pretty good to me. I noted the comments about the other Richter recordings and their authenticity but I can't comment on that either.

Suffice to say that I had heard little of the St. Matthew Passion before I took a chance and bought this a few months ago. I have been listening to this recording two or three times a week ever since and show no sign of tiring of it.

Gordon Eck said:

Of all the recordings of this glorious composition this is by far the most passionate and moving I have ever heard. Karl Richter's interpretation of this work is as close to perfection as I could possibly imagine. The tempos are slow and deliberate with every nuance of the score sculpted into an absolute beauty. At 3hr 23min 55sec this is probably one of, if not the, longest recording of the St. Matthew Passion available with every second pure bliss.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. said:

In my opinion, this recording is the best I have heard, especially by a man who I consider to be the ultimate authority on Bach interpretation. Richter seems to have come into his own in this recording (more so than the 1958 recording). The interaction between the two parts of the choir, the alteration between harpsichord and organ, and the general tempo and atmosphere conjured up in the recording all make for an enjoyable experience and a must for one's Good Friday observances.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Tim Ruffle
  • Gordon Eck
  • David Glenn Lebut Jr.
Date First Submitted:12/10/1999