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Bach: St John Passion / Schreier, Alexander, Holl

Bach / Schreier / Bar / Lipovsek / Holl / Lrc
Release Date: 03/29/2011 
Label:  Newton Classics   Catalog #: 8802052   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Olaf BärMarjana LipovsekRoberta AlexanderRobert Holl,   ... 
Conductor:  Peter Schreier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio ChorusDresden Staatskapelle
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

An enjoyable account.

"Bach’s 1750 obituary claimed that he had written five passions. Only the St. John Passion (1724) and the St. Matthew Passion (1727) have survived in their entirety. Two others are lost and the St. Mark Passion, BWV 247 from 1731 appears in a reconstructed version. The St. John was first performed in 1724 in the St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig. Bach primarily uses texts from the St. John Gospel with the remainder taken from variety of sources, including chorales.

The score, it seems, exists in four versions prepared for performances in 1724, 1725, 1732 and 1749 with an incomplete one from 1739. Here on this Newton reissue that I recall being
Read more released on Philips Classics, Schreier uses the 1724 edition also providing as an appendix three arias from the revised version prepared by Bach for a 1725 revival.

Throughout I found the Leipzig Rundfunkchor in fine form making a satisfying flowing sound. Their numerous choruses are marked by impressive unison, fresh, refined and often compelling. Occasionally the emphasis on certain words didn’t always make sense. I didn’t find any of the soloists to be stunningly impressive although the overall effect was gratifying.

The conductor Peter Schreier in his tenor role of the Evangelist and singing the other tenor arias is more than capable of the responsibility and demonstrates remarkable resilience. As the Evangelist he does remarkably well in the sung recitatives maintaining the continuity of the scenario. In the aria Ach, mein Sinn and the extended and difficult Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken Schreier’s tones were bright and resonant being extremely well controlled. I enjoyed the arioso Mein Herz, in dem die ganze most agreeably performed with considerable reverence. The additional arias from the 1725 version Zerschmettert mich, ihr Felsen und ihr Hügel and Ach windet euch nicht so, geplagte Seelen are well sung, bright and sparkling with the latter conveying an especially impressive piety".

-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Saint John Passion, BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Olaf Bär (Baritone), Marjana Lipovsek (Alto), Roberta Alexander (Soprano),
Robert Holl (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor)
Conductor:  Peter Schreier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 125 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 

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