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Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Dijkstra, Gauvin, Romberger, Pregardian, Nagy

Bach,J.s.
Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Br Klassik   Catalog #: 900508   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Julian PrégardianGerhild RombergerMichael NagyKarina Gauvin,   ... 
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio ChorusConcerto CologneRegensburg Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 3 
Length: 2 Hours 43 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

To follow the Christmas Oratorio, the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks under its artistic director Peter Dijkstra again present a major work by Johann Sebastian Bach, in a live recording on CD and DVD: the St. Matthew Passion. The choir's instrumental partner is the renowned period instrument group Concerto Köln, who can already be heard together with the choir on several BR-KLASSIK CDs (Händel: Israel in Egypt, Dixit Dominus; Bach: Magnificat). Bach's epoch-making St. Matthew's Passion can be heard in historically informed performance practice with the renowned Bach singer Julian Prégardien, the Regensburger Domspatzen and further well-known soloists. The DVD edition of Read more this live recording from Munich's Herkulessaal features highly atmospheric lighting effects.

R E V I E W: 3810350.az_BACH_St_Matthew_Passion.html

BACH St. Matthew Passion Peter Dijkstra, cond; Julian Prégardien ( Evangelist ); Karl-Magnus Fredriksson ( Jesus ); Karina Gauvin (s); Gerhild Romberger (mez); Maximilian Schmitt (t); Michael Nagy (bar); Bavarian R Ch; Regensburger Domspatzen; Concerto Köln BR 900508 (3 CDs: 163:29 & German only) Live: Munich 2/12–17/2013


To begin with, it was nice to hear a historically informed performance that did not sound as if it were being played and sung by MIDIs. Peter Dijkstra is obviously a fine musician, and so is able to draw a good sound from his smallish forces, including terraced dynamics in the chorus, that I found quite pleasing. He also chooses good tempos, not too slow but not too fast, either, and the recorded sound is both warm and crisp.


Our Evangelist, Prégardien, has a lovely light tenor voice but does not sing with any particular expression. Our Jesus, Fredriksson, sings with good expression but has a woolly, slightly grainy-sounding voice. Mezzo Romberger does not have the loveliest voice in the world, but she sings expressively. She sounds rather unsteady in her first recitative, but in the aria immediately following her voice is steady. Perhaps they were recorded on different days. Gauvin, as usual, is transcendent both vocally and expressively. As the performance progressed, however, Prégardien’s singing became more expressive and Fredriksson’s voice warms up. I must give the highest praise, however, to Dijkstra for holding it together and being able to sustain the right mood throughout this long and sometimes rambling work. In a way, this sounds like a lighter-weight version of the old Klemperer recording, which was one of the most heartfelt performances of this massive work I’ve ever heard.


The one singer who is consistently poor is Nagy, who has too much unsteadiness of both sustained notes and tonal emission. By the time we reach CD 2, however, everything seems to click in and expressivity is increased all round. Romberger may not have the best tone, but her “Erbarme dich” is one of the most deeply felt performances I’ve ever heard in my life, and her phrasing is simply astonishing. Nagy, too, miraculously improves on CD 2 for his aria “Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder,” and our tenor soloist, Schmitt, is very fine if a bit too similar to Prégardien.


All in all, this is one of the great triumphs of the historically informed performance philosophy. Dijksta understands that all these things they preach in the conservatories today—violin straight tone, singers and choruses with minimal vibrato, small performing forces, etc.—are, in the end, just tools and not mandates to force a performance into narrow parameters. You still have to sing and play the music expressively, otherwise you’re wasting your time. His St. Matthew Passion is not just a musical conception: It tells a story, it has dramatic gestures and a theatrical feeling about it. You really feel for Christ as a person, not just admire his suffering in a stoic sense. You understand that Pilate was really caught between a rock and a hard place, and you really feel the emotions given in the arias. Just one example among many: Listen to the way Dijkstra injects a feeling of melancholy into the soft wind passages that open the soprano aria “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben.” The conductor who can feel this music that deeply, and bring that feeling out in his players, is indeed a rare breed. In the booklet is a reproduction of a painting by Albrecht Dürer, Christ as a Man of Sorrows, in which he just looks so completely beat and depressed that you feel for him, much more than the stoic God-man who takes his beating and keeps on going. And it is this feeling that Dijkstra elicits in this new, magnificent performance, the quiet, still voice within us, not a heaven-storming event to smite us with its awe-inspiring power. This is a great recording. I should also note that there is a DVD version available on BR Klassik 900509 for those of you who enjoy watching a performance of a concert Mass. I don’t.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Julian Prégardian (Tenor), Gerhild Romberger (Alto), Michael Nagy (Baritone),
Karina Gauvin (Soprano), Maximilian Schmitt (Tenor), Karl Magnus Fredriksson (Baritone)
Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Concerto Cologne,  Regensburg Cathedral Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 

Sound Samples

St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Kommt, ihr Tochter, helft mir klagen (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da versammelten sich die Hohenpriester (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Ja nicht auf das Fest (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien, im Hause Simonis des Aussatzigen (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Wozu dienet dieser Unrat? (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da das Jesus merkete, sprach er zu ihnen (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Du lieber Heiland du (Alto)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Aria: Buss und Reu (Alto)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da ging hin der Zwolfen einer (Evangelist, Judas)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Blute nur, du liebes Herz (Soprano)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Aber am ersten Tage der Sussen Brot' (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Wo willst du, dass wir dir bereiten (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Er sprach (Evangelist) - Gehet hin di die Stadt (Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und sie wurden sehr betrubt und huben an (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Herr, bin ich's? (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: Ich bin's, ich sollte bussen
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Er antwortete und sprach (Evangelist, Jesus, Judas)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Wiewohl mein Herz in Tranen schwimmt (Soprano)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Aria: Ich will dir mein Herze schenken (Soprano)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und da sie den Lobgesang gesprochen hatten (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: Erkenne mich, mein Huter
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Petrus aber antwortete (Evangelist, Petrus, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: Ich will hier bei dir stehen
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Da kam Jesus mit ihnen zu einem Hofe (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative and Chorale: O Schmerz, hier zittert das gequalte Herz (Tenor, Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Aria and Chorus: Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen (Alto, Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und ging hin ein wenig (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Der Heiland fallt vor seinem Vater nieder (Bass)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Aria: Gerne will ich mich bequemen (Bass)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und er kam zu seinen Jungern (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und er kam und fand sie aber schlafend (Evangelist, Jesus, Judas)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Aria and Chorus: So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen (Soprano, Alto, Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden? (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Recitative: Und siehe, einer aus denen (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part I: Chorale: O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria and Chorus: Ach! Nun ist mein Jesus hin (Alto, Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: Mir hat die Welt truglich gericht'
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten (Evangelist, Testis, Pontifex)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Mein Jesus schweigt zu falschen Lugen stille (Tenor)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria: Geduld! Geduld! (Tenor)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Und der Hohepriester antwortete (Evangelist, Pontifex, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Er ist des Todes schuldig! (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Da speieten sie aus in sein Angesicht (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Weissage uns, Christe, wer its's, der dich schlug? (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: Wer hat dich so geschlagen
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Petrus aber sass draussen im Palast (Evangelist, 2 Servants, Petrus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Wahrlich, du bist auch einer von denen (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Da hub er an, sich zu verfluchen (Evangelist, Petrus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria: Erbarme dich (Alto)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohepreister (Evangelist, Judas)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Was gehet uns das an? Da siehe du zu! (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Und er warf die Silberlinge in den Tempel, hub sich davon (Evangelist, Pontifex)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria: Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder (Bass)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Sie hielten aber einen Rat (Evangelist, Pilatus, Jesus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: Befiehl du deine Wege
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative and Chorus: Auf das Fest aber hatte der Landpfleger (Evangelist, Pilatus, Uxor Pilati, Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Lass ihn kreuzigen! (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Der Landpfleger sagte (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Er hat uns allen wohlgetan (Soprano)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria: Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben (Soprano)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Sie schrieen aber noch mehr (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Lass ihn kreuzigen! (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Da aber Pilatus sahe, dass er nichts schaffete (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Sein Blut komme uber uns und unstre Kinder (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Da gab er ihnen Barrabam los (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Erbarm es Gott (Alto)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Aria: Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen (Alto)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Da nahmen die Kriegsknechte (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Gegrusset seist du, Judenkonig! (Chorus)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Recitative: Und speieten ihn an und nahmen das Rohr und schlugen (Evangelist)
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part II: Chorale: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (Chorus)

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