Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Homilius: St. Mark Passion / Mauch, Sandhoff, Mammel, Laske, Naf

Homilius / Mauch / Sandhoff / Mammel
Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83260   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gottfried August Homilius
Performer:  Thomas LaskeMonika MauchRuth SandhoffHans Jörg Mammel
Conductor:  Fritz Naf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel MadrigalistsL'Arpa FestanteMunich Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A worthy addition to the repertoire for Passiontide.

About ten years ago the German label Carus started a project of recording compositions by Gottfried August Homilius and publishing the scores. This has borne fruit in a series of remarkable productions, with cantatas, motets and passions (see below). No fewer than three of the latter genre have been released so far, the latest being this setting of the St Mark Passion. It is not documented when it was written, but there is evidence that it was performed a couple of years before 1765 in Berlin. Homilius' Passions were quite famous and were performed in the German-speaking world well into the 19th century. That is the more remarkable as they had to compete with
Read more the then most celebrated Passion, Der Tod Jesu, by Carl Heinrich Graun, which dates from 1755.
 
The latter is a so-called passion oratorio. This was mostly a combination of a paraphrase of and contemplation on the story of the Passion. Passion oratorios were usually performed outside the church, in the form of a concert, but in the second half of the century they became part of religious services as well. This St Mark Passion belongs to the older type of the oratorio passion like those by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is based on the Biblical account of the suffering and death of Jesus, with additional chorales and arias. Even so, this work is quite different from Bach's Passions in various ways.
 
It is interesting to compare Homilius's Passion with Bach's St Matthew Passion. This will reveal in what way the Passions from the Enlightenment differ from those of the previous era. Bach's Passion is written in the spirit of Luther's theology of the Cross, which emphasized that the suffering and death of Jesus for the sins of mankind are an absolute precondition to receiving the grace of God. In order to imprint this into the minds of the congregation it should 're-experience' as it were Jesus' sufferings and take part in the unfolding of the events as described in the gospels. To that end the references to the happy outcome of Jesus' passion are very limited. It is telling that Bach's St Matthew Passion ends with an expression of grief on Jesus' death. This Passion by Homilius ends on a positive note: "God is reconciled, he layeth down his thunders. (...) The heavens exult, with hallelujahs echoing. Join forces with them in this solemn song!" The scene which describes the Last Supper is followed by an aria of an uplifting character, referring to the Lord's Supper which is celebrated in the Christian church: "If by sin ye are distressed, come and the Lord will refresh you. (...) O taste and see how gracious he is!" It is followed by a chorus which expresses the same thought. This connection is completely absent in Bach's Passion.
 
The purpose of the congregation 're-experiencing' the events also explains the dramatic character of Bach's St Matthew Passion. Homilius's St Mark Passion is considerably less dramatic. A typical example is the scene where the High Priest asks Jesus whether he is the son of God. Jesus answers: "I am, and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." In Bach's Passion the Evangelist immediately mentions the High Priest rending his clothes and saying that Jesus has spoken blasphemy. Homilius inserts a chorale, and only then the Evangelist recounts the response of the High Priest. The same happens in the scene of Peter denying Jesus. After his last denial Bach's Evangelist tells that the cock crew and that Peter wept bitterly. In Homilius's Passion the last denial is followed by an aria: "Do not misconceive the God of gods! His anger flares, go, kiss the Son!" In these passages the inclusion of a chorale and an aria respectively interrupt the dramatic flow of the story.
 
The aria just mentioned reveals a feature of this Passion which clearly reflects the spirit of the Enlightenment. In Bach's Passions the arias express the emotions the congregation is supposed to feel while witnessing the sufferings of Jesus: "May my weeping and my mourning be a welcome sacrifice" (Buss und Reu), "I wish my heart to offer thee" (Ich will dir mein Herze schenken), "Have mercy, Lord, on me" (Erbarme dich). It is the congregation speaking; in Homilius the congregation is addressed. They are warned: "Be merciful, o mortal man, break thou thy bread with the hungry". That is the opening sentence of the first aria which follows the scene when Jesus' disciples complain about the woman pouring ointment on Jesus' head. This shows that the arias often have a strong moral content. In other arias participants in the story are addressed: "Condemn him, if ye must, ye unjust judges", but "when the Son of Man shall return as judge on the clouds of heaven, then flee, evildoers, flee!"
 
The recitatives of the Evangelist bear witness to the less dramatic character of Homilius's St Mark Passion as well. They are more straightforward, and the text is less drastically depicted in the music. The compass of this part is considerably narrower and there are far fewer modulations. The most dramatic parts of this Passion are the arias. The tenor aria mentioned above, 'Verdammt ihn nur, ihr ungerechten Richter' is a kind of operatic rage aria. There’s drama also in the two accompanied recitatives of the soprano in the second part, which strongly contrast with the ensuing arias. Some arias are quite long: several take seven or eight minutes. The most expressive of these is also the longest: 'Ich geh, von Leiden ganz'. The words are put into the mouth of Jesus (another feature of Enlightenment Passions): "I go hence, surrounded by sorrow on all sides, and there is none to ask: Whither goest thou?" Its expressive character is reinforced by the strings playing with mutes.
 
The mixture of 'old' and 'new' elements has resulted in a compelling Passion with music of great beauty and incisive expression. The performance does full justice to its character and quality. Hans Jörg Mammel gives an excellent account of the part of the Evangelist, in a true declamatory manner. The part of Jesus is lighter than in other Passions: Thomas Laske is a baritone rather than a bass, and his agile voice perfectly suits this part. His aria which I already mentioned is one of the most moving parts and is exquisitely sung. His voice is more powerful in the aria 'Mit Preis und Ruhm gekrönt'. Monika Mauch has a beautiful and clear voice; especially moving is the aria in the second part, following the death of Jesus: "Flow, flow, ye tears!" The dramatic accompanied recitatives I referred to are not lost on her either. No less beautiful is the voice of Ruth Sandhoff, whose warm timbre suits the aria 'Wenn euch eure Sünden drücken'.
 
The Basler Madrigalisten are a vocal ensemble of twenty voices and sing the turbae in a fitting dramatic fashion. The chorales are often a weak spot in recordings of works like this, but not here. Words and phrases are effectively singled out, for instance through dynamic accents, such as in the last lines of 'O weh demselben' (CD 1, track 13). The articulation is also immaculate. The orchestra gives full weight to the dramatic aspects, and displays its expressive powers in the arias.
 
This recording shows why Homilius was considered the greatest German composer of sacred music in his time. It is a worthy addition to the repertoire for Passiontide.
 
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
St. Mark Passion by Gottfried August Homilius
Performer:  Thomas Laske (Bass), Monika Mauch (Soprano), Ruth Sandhoff (Mezzo Soprano),
Hans Jörg Mammel (Tenor)
Conductor:  Fritz Naf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Madrigalists,  L'Arpa Festante,  Munich Baroque Orchestra

Sound Samples

So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: So gehst du nun, mein Jesu (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und nach zween Tagen (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Ja nicht auf das Fest (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und da er zu Bethanien (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Was soll doch dieser Unrat (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und murreten uber sie (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Mensch, empfinde doch Erbarmen (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und Judas Ischarioth (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Wo willt du (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und er sandte (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Wo soll ich, der du alles weisst (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und sie wurden traurig (Soprano, Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: O weh demselben (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und indem sie assen (Soprano, Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Wenn euch eure Sunden drucken (Alto)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Dir Heiland, die weihn wir (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und da sie den Lobgesang (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Hilf, dass ich stets (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Desselbengleichen (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Wache, dass dich Satans List (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und ging ein wenig (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Ich geh, von Leiden ganz (Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und alsbald (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Sei getreu in deinem Herzen (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Die aber legten (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Mir nach, spricht Christus (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und er war da (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Arioso: Wir haben gehoret (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Aber ihr Zeugnis (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: O Jesu, hilf zur selben Zeit (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Da zuriss der Hohepriester (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Verdammt ihn nur (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Da fingen an etliche (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Weissage uns (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und die Knechte (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Wahrlich, du bist der einer (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und er fing an (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Verkennt ihn nicht (Alto)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und der Hahn krahete (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: O Vater der Barmherzigkeit (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Weint, izt wird (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und bald am Morgen (Evangelist, Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Mit Preis und Ruhm gekront (Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und die Hohenpriester (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Kreuzige ihn (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Pilatus aber sprach (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Kreuzige ihn (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Herzliebster Jesu (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Pilatus aber gedachte (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Gegrusset seist du (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und schlugen ihm (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Accompagnato: Jerusalem (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Er hat dich erretten wollen (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Accompagnato: Nein, du hast nicht (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Er will leiden (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und sie brachten ihn (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Dein Durst und Gallentrank (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und da sie ihn (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Pfui dich (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Desselbigengleichen (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Er hat andern geholfen (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und die mit ihm (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Ich werde dir zu Ehren (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und nach der sechsten (Jesus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Verstummet, ihr Himmel! (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und etliche (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Siehe, er rufet (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Da lief einer (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Aria: Ihr Tranen fliesst (Soprano)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und der Vorhang (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Ihr Graber brecht (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Der Hauptmann aber (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Chorale: Der Hirt ist tot (Chorus)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Recitative: Und er kaufte (Evangelist)
So gehst du nun (St. Mark Passion): Gott ist versohnt (Chorus)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In