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Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir

Release Date: 03/10/2017 
Label:  Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog #: 725  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephan LogesJames Gilchrist
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque SoloistsMonteverdi ChoirTrinity Boys Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This stunning new live recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Matthauspassion BWV 244) was recorded in Pisa Cathedral during the Anima Mundi Festival as part of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra’s 2016 tour. Conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the brilliant cast includes James Gilchrist as the Evangelist and Stephan Loges as Jesus. The Trinity Boys Choir adds an exciting color to this recording as well. The Monteverdi Choir was founded by Sir John Eliot Gardner in 1964. The ensemble’s first performance was the Monteverdi Vespers in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The group has become known worldwide for their stylistic conviction and their ability to perform an
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Musically this is a very fine performance. The choir are excellent, of course, with a solid but clear and intimate sound even in the larger choruses, no end of expressive means in the chorales, and a thrilling quickness in the crowd choruses. Gardiner asks for a lot of quiet singing from them and they execute it with a superbly controlled beauty.

The orchestra is as skilled and musical as you like in their obbligatos, and exquisitely responsive in Gardiner's subtle shapings.

The experienced Evangelist of James Gilchrist and Christus of Stephan Loges are not to be faulted, and none of the nine young aria soloists is a weak link; each one lives up to their moment in the drama.

All of these things you will find in many other Matthews, but you will rarely find the same careful relishing of the German text. What really makes this one special, however, is its emotional integrity, coming not from affected theatricality but from a pervading sense of profound sadness. This recording is one of Gardiner's finest achievements.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), James Gilchrist (Tenor)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Trinity Boys Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 One of the Finest May 10, 2018 By William G. (Lancaster, PA) See All My Reviews "GARDINER's booklet introduction and notes are wise and deeply felt. Here he comes to J.S.BACH's mind and soul as closely as possible. The performance is one of the fines in emotional modulation and sensibility as well as orchestral and vocal clarity, creating a chamber-music-like atmosphere equally at home in the cathedral, the concert hall or in the meditative solitude of listening in your home. You won't find the ferocity of KARL RICHTER's supernatural realm, but a touching human experience, translating BACH into the language for our times - absolutely moving!" Report Abuse
 interesting recording - recommend fully! December 11, 2017 By Timothy R. (Albany, NY) See All My Reviews "This is a great new recording of the Bach St. Matthew Passion. Having performed this monumental work, I hear the great care taken in the performance, which is nuanced and beautifully performed by this wonderful ensemble under Maestro Gardiner. The recording is worth its price just to read the insightful notes, which include diary entries and messages written from the conductor to his performers. It was so interesting to learn that the recording itself came at the end of a series of MEMORIZED performances over the course of several months. Even having two recordings with Rilling, and the Bach Collegium Japan, I highly recommend this one. You won't be disappointed." Report Abuse
 An urgent new St. Matthew Passion from John Eliot March 18, 2017 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "John Eliot Gardiner's ground-breaking Archiv recording of the St. Matthew Passion was made in 1988 at Snape Maltings, with the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir. Twenty-eight years later he took those same musicians on tour in Europe, and in their stop at Pisa on September 21-22, 2016 SDG recorded this live version. At the time of the original recording everyone noted how brisk Gardiner's tempi were. The total time was just over 157 minutes. While SDG manages to fit the work on only two CDs rather than the original three, Gardiner has relaxed just a tiny bit, with a new total time of 161 minutes. This music still has the same drive, the same dancing quality. Gardiner's vision was always more dramatic than devotional, and the urgency of the first version remains in the new one. "You feel you are being taken by the scruff of the neck," Gardiner says of his experience of the work, "and required to confront big issues - the nature of kingship, of identity, or of what happens when truth faces falsehood." That quote is from Gardiner's 2013 book Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, which is for me the New Testament of Bach scholarship. In the new version The Monteverdi Choir is just as tight and disciplined as in the original, with new levels of subtlety and often more dramatic shading this time around. The strong group of soloists, led by James Gilchrist as The Evangelist and Stephan Loges as Jesus, tell their stories in a thrilling way, and Bach provides many ways for his audience to reflect on their meaning. "Without any concession to theatrical gimmickry," says Gardiner in his book, "Bach provides his audience with a magnificent display of dramatic re-enaction." He says, further, that Bach approached his task "with the flair of the born dramatist." This flair the great composer shares with Sir John Eliot Gardiner today." Report Abuse
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