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Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Richter, Fischer-Dieskau


Release Date: 01/02/2001 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 4636352   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-DieskauAntonia FahbergMax ProebstlKieth Engen,   ... 
Conductor:  Karl Richter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach ChoirMunich Bach OrchestraMunich Choir Boys
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A landmark recording that no collection can afford to be without.

The evolving musical climate of the 1950s occasioned a profound shift of culture and attitude in the performance of Bach's great choral works. By the close of the decade, it was one of Bach's own successors in the post of Kantor at Leipzig's Thomaskirche, Karl Richter (who'd become organist there at age 23 in 1947), who'd become torch-bearer for a new generation of Bach interpreters. Richter's recordings with the Munich Bach Choir and Orchestra (ensembles he founded in 1951 and with which his name has become synonymous) heeded an unbroken Leipzig tradition that could be traced back to the time of Bach himself.

But in two key areas there were
Read more important breaks with many of that tradition's seemingly indissoluble conventions: first, Richter rejected a mode of performing the Passions using choral and orchestral forces more akin to Mahler or Bruckner than Bach; second, thanks to slimmer performing resources, tempos suddenly became quicker, and critics were universally astounded by the revelations afforded by Richter's leaner, sparer, more urgent approach. Renate Freyse's famous analysis compared Richter's account with Klemperer's more or less contemporaneous EMI/Philharmonia version, concluding that the latter's "basically calm approach to tempo means that his recording of the St. Matthew Passion lasts around 40 minutes longer than Richter's."

Richter's set was taped at 22 sessions held between June and August, 1958. Now it occupies three elegantly digitalized CDs rather than eight LP sides, and this landmark account still rates as one of the finest versions ever committed to disc. Comparisons between Richter and Klemperer are fascinating, and points of divergence between their readings are too numerous to attempt to enumerate adequately here. In essence, you could say that Klemperer's version (recently reissued in EMI's Great Recordings of the 20th Century series) is firmly rooted in 19th century Kapelmeister-ish conventions, these being reflected as much by the very measured and stately tempos as by the respectful avoidance of rhetoric. Richter brings the score alive (perhaps for the first time) as a gripping, unfolding human drama, giving recitatives a biting realism by faster vocal articulation, and imparting to the great chorales a frank objectivity of expression that Klemperer's generation would have considered dangerous, even disrespectful. Richter's continuo team is superb, and it's given more expressive freedom than Klemperer's, as are his vocal soloists, especially tenor Ernst Haefliger as the Evangelist and Kieth Engen as Jesus.

Of course, nearly half a century later, period practice and so-called "authenticity" (as with Herreweghe's or Gardiner's recent accounts) tried to make things even more "correct", whatever that might mean. But it's Karl Richter's depth of understanding of this work that did much to encourage a widespread reappraisal of how the St. Matthew Passion should be performed, and nothing that's been achieved since was attained without reference to his defining example. So this is a supreme realization, eloquently reasoned and wonderfully played and sung; a landmark recording that no collection can afford to be without.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Bass), Antonia Fahberg (Soprano), Max Proebstl (Bass),
Kieth Engen (Bass), Irmgard Seefried (Soprano), Hertha Töpper (Alto),
Ernst Haefliger (Tenor)
Conductor:  Karl Richter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Choir,  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Choir Boys
Period: Baroque 
Written: Circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1958 

Sound Samples

St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.1 Chorus I/II: "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.2 Evangelist, Jesus: "Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.3 Choral: "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.4a Evangelist: "Da versammelten sich die Hohenpriester"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.4b Chorus I/II: "Ja nicht auf das Fest"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.6 Evangelist: "Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.4d Chorus I: "Wozu dienet dieser Unrat"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.4e Evangelist, Jesus: "Da das Jesus merkete"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.5 Recitative (Alto): "Du lieber Heiland du"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.6 Aria (Alto): "Buss und Reu"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.7 Evangelist, Judas: "Da ging hin der Zwölfen einer"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.8 Aria (Soprano): "Blute nur, du liebes Herz"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.9a Evangelist:"Aber am ersten Tage der süssen Brot"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.9b Chorus I: "Wo willst du, dass wir dir bereiten"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.9c Evangelist, Jesus: "Er sprach: Gehet hin in die Stadt"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.10 Choral: "Ich bin's, ich sollte büssen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.11 Evangelist, Jesus, Judas: "Er antwortete und sprach"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.12 Recitative (Soprano): "Wiewohl mein Herz in Tränen schwimmt"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.13 Aria (Soprano): "Ich will dir mein Herz schenken"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.14 Evangelist, Jesus: "Und da sie den Lobgesang gesprochen hatten"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.15 Choral: "Erkenne mich, mein Hüter"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.16 Evangelist, Jesus, Petrus: "Petrus aber antwortete"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.17 Choral: "Ich will hier bei dir stehen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.18 Evangelist, Jesus: "Da kam Jesus mit ihnen zu einem Hofe"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.19 Recitative (Tenor, Chorus II): "O Schmerz! hier zittert das gequälte Herz"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.20 Aria (Tenor): "Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen" with Chorus: "So schlafen unsre Sünden ein"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.21 Evangelist, Jesus: "Und ging hin ein wenig"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.22 Recitative (Bass): "Der Heiland fällt vor seinem Vater nieder"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.23 Aria (Bass): "Gerne will ich mich bequemen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.24 Evangelist, Jesus: "Und er kam zu seinen Jüngern"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.25 Choral: "Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.26 Evangelist, Jesus, Judas: "Und er kam und fand sie aber schlafend"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.27 Aria (Soprano, Alto, Chorus II): "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen" - Chorus I/II: "Sind Blitze, sind Donner"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.28 Evangelist, Jesus: "Und siehe, einer aus denen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part One: No.29 Choral: "O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.30 Aria (Alto, Chorus II): "Ach nun ist mein Jesu hin"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.31 Evangelist: "Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.32 Choral: "Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.33 Evangelist, Pontifex, Testis I/II: "Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.34 Recitative (Tenor): "Mein Jesus schweigt zu falschen Lügen stille"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.35 Aria (Tenor): "Geduld"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.36 Evangelist, Pontifex, Jesus, Chorus I/II: "Und der Hohepriester antwortete"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.36c Evangelist: "Da speieten sie aus in sein Angesicht"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.37 Choral: "Wer hat dich so geschlagen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.38a Evangelist, Ancilla I/II, Petrus: "Petrus aber sass draussen im Palast"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.46 Chorus II: "Wahrlich, du bist auch einer von denen" - No.46 Evangelist, Petrus: "Da hub er an, sich zu verflugen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.39 Aria (Alto): "Erbarme dich"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.40 Choral: "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.41a Evangelist, Judas: "Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohepriester"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.41c Evangelist, Pontifex I/II: "Und er warf die Silberlinge in den Tempel"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.42 Aria (Bass): "Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.43 Evangelist, Pilatus, Jesus: "Sie hielten aber einen Rat"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.44 Choral: "Befiehl du deine Wege"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.45 Evangelist, Pilatus, Uxor Pilati, Chorus I/II: "Auf das Fest aber hatte der Landpfleger Gewohnheit"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.46 Choral: "Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.47 Evangelist, Pilatus: "Der Landpfleger sagte"
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Part Two: No.48 Recitative (Soprano): "Er hat uns allen wohlgetan"

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