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Bach: John Passion / Butt, Dunedin Consort

Bach,J.s. / Dunedin Consort / Butt
Release Date: 03/26/2013 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 419   
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachDietrich BuxtehudeJacob HandlJohann Hermann Schein
Performer:  John ButtJoanne LunnNicholas MulroyMatthew Brook,   ... 
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gramophone Editor's Choice – Recording of the Month

Naturalness and emotional honesty are what emerge from this tight-knit and perfectly paced ensemble Passion, in which Bach's complex succession of recitatives, arias, choruses, and chorales has seldom sounded so convincingly of a piece.


– Gramophone [3/2013]

***** A dramatic, exactingly nuanced, profoundly considered reading. Butt's contextualizing demands to be heard: it's nothing short of a revelation.

– BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 Disc of the Month

This recording of Bach's John Passion gives listeners a refreshing outlook, shining a new light into one of the best known pieces of the choral repertoire. John
Read more Butt recreates the Good Friday Vesper liturgy of a passion performance during Bach's time at Leipzig; in addition to the Dunedin Consort performance of Bach's composition, this recording features music from an original Leipzig hymn book with works by Jacob Händl, J. H. Schein and J Crüger performed by a congregational choir and the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir. John Butt takes centre stage to perform organ chorale preludes by Bach and Schütz on the Collins organ at Greyfriar's Kirk in Edinburgh, where the recording took place.

R E V I E W:

John Butt freely admits that his new recording of the St John Passion is a reconstruction of a performance that never took place. It's a leap of imaginative faith; an ideal. Yet how illuminating such leaps can prove. Those outside the Lutheran tradition so often come to the Bach Passions as it they were some sort of altarpiece, deprived of their sacred surroundings and hung in a gallery to be revered as a great work of art. By putting the St John Passion in a liturgical context - the first time this has been done on disc - Butt reminds us that it was part of a living act of worship, and just how potently private and public devotion intersect: emotive solo arias interact within the bigger picture of gravelly unaccompanied congregational signing, chant and organ chorale preluding. In a concert performance the final chorale usually dissolves into silence before applause. Here it seamlessly surrenders to a tender funeral motet by Jacob Handl Gallus which, far from dissipating the moment, intensifies it - and bridges the transition from Bach into the closing solemnities. Similarly, at the start the maelstrom of the opening chorus emerges out of a Buxtehude organ prelude. It's thrilling. And for those with stamina seeking added ‘authenticity', it's possible to download from the Linn Records website a lengthy sermon such as anchored the Vespers service.

If course all this would be purely academic if the performance didn't match the commitment of Butt's vision. But those already familiar with the Dunedin's St Matthew Passion will know what to expect. With a total of ten voices (including soloists), Butt and his forces yield a dramatic, exactingly nuanced, profoundly considered reading, compelling in its integrity and text-driven immediacy. The chorus - eight voices at full stretch - conjure up real venom, and the scene as los are cast for Christ's garment is dispatched with gurgling frenzy. Tenor Nicholas Mulroy's firmly- contoured Evangelist balances the musical and narrative imperatives of the recitatives with judicious sensitivity, and bass-baritone Matthew Brook's Christus stands up to the crowd with a dignified yet firm resolve and hallowed charisma. He also shapes ‘Mein teurer Heiland' with easeful repose. Clare Wilkinson's ‘Von den Stricken' might sound a touch disengaged, but her ‘Esist Vollbracht' is enthralling. Joanne Lunn is achingly poignant in ‘Zerfliesse, mein Herze'. Butt's contextualising demands to be heard: it's nothing short of a revelation.

-- Rebecca Franks, BBC Music Magazine
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Orgelbüchlein: Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund', BWV 621 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Butt (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
2.
Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1703; Arnstadt, Germany 
3.
Praeludium for Keyboard in F sharp minor, BuxWV 146 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  John Butt (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
4.
Saint John Passion, BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
5.
Orgelbüchlein: O Lamm Gottes unschuldig, BWV 618 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Butt (Organ)
6.
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
7.
Orgelbüchlein: Christus, der uns selig macht, BWV 620 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Butt (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714-1715; Weimar, Germany 
8.
Ecce quomodo moritur iustus by Jacob Handl
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Austria 
9.
Gott, sei mir gnädig by Johann Hermann Schein
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
10.
Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 657 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Butt (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany 
11.
Nun danket alle Gott by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (Tenor), Matthew Brook (Bass),
Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Davies (Spoken Vocals), John Butt (Harpsichord & Organ)
Conductor:  John Butt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
Period: Baroque 

Featured Sound Samples

St. John Passion (Bach): Aria: "Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten"
St. John Passion (Bach): Chorus: "Wäre dieser nicht ein Übeltäter"
St. John Passion (Bach): Chorale: "Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein"

Sound Samples

Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund, BWV 621
Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund II
Prelude and Fugue in F sharp minor, BuxWV 146: Prelude (excerpt)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Herr, unser Herrscher (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Jesus ging mit seinen Jungern (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Jesum von Nazareth (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Jesus spricht zu ihnen (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Jesum von Nazareth! (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Jesus antwortete (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: O grosse Lieb (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Auf dass das Wort erfullet wurde (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Dein Will gescheh, Herr Gott, zugleich (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Die Schar aber und der Oberhauptmann (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Aria: Von den Strikken meiner Sunden (Alto)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Simon Petrus aber folgete Jesu nach (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Aria: Ich folge dir gleichfalls (Soprano)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Derselbige Junger war (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Wer hat dich so geschlagen (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Und Hannas sandte ihn gebunden (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Bist du nicht seiner Junger einer (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Recitative: Er leugnete und sprach (Evangelist, Petrus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Aria: Ach, mein Sinn (Tenor)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part I: Chorale: Petrus, der nicht denkt zuruck (Chorus)
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 618
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Christe, du Lamm Gottes
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Christus, der uns selig macht, BWV 620
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Christus, der uns selig macht (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da fuhreten sie Jesum (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Ware dieser nicht ein Ubeltater (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Wir durfen niemand toten (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Auf dass erfullet wurde das Wort Jesu (Evangelist, Pilatus, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Ach grosser Konig (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm (Evangelist, Pilatus, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Nicht diesen, diesen nicht (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Barrabas aber war ein Morder (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Arioso: Betrachte, meine Seel (Bass)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Aria: Erwage, wie sein blutgefarbter Rucken (Tenor)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Und die kriegsknechte flochten (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Sei gegrusset, lieber Judenkonig (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Und gaben ihm Backenstreiche (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Kreuzige, kreuzige (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Pilatus sprach zu ihnen (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Wir haben ein Gesetz (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da Pilatus das Wort horete (Evangelist, Pilatus, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Durch dein Gefangnis, Gottes Sohn (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Die Juden aber schrieen (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Lassest du diesen los (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da Pilatus das Wort horete (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Weg, weg mit dem (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Spricht Pilatus zu ihnen (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Wir haben keinen Konig (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Da uberantwortete er ihn (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Aria: Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen (Bass, Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Allda kreuzigten sie ihn (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Schreibe nicht: der Juden konig (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Pilatus antwortet (Evangelist, Pilatus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: In meines Herzens Grunde (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Die Kriegsknechte aber (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Auf dass erfullet werde die Schrift (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Er nahm alles wohl in acht (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Und von Stund an (Evangelist, Jesus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Aria: Es ist vollbracht (Alto)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Und neiget das Haupt (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Aria: Mein teurer Heiland (Bass, Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Und siehe da, der Vorhang (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Arioso: Mein Herz, indem die ganze Welt (Tenor)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Aria: Zerfliesse, mein Herze (Soprano)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Die Juden aber (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Recitative: Darnach bat Pilatum (Evangelist)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine (Chorus)
St. John Passion, BWV 245: Part II: Chorale: Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein (Chorus)
Ecce quomodo moritur iustus
Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch [Leipzig, 1682]: Responsory [Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, Leipzig, 1682]
Vollstandiges Kirchen-Buch [Leipzig, 1731]: Collect [Vollstandiges Kirchen-Buch, Leipzig, 1731]
Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch [Leipzig, 1682]: Blessing [Vollstandiges Kirchen-Buch, Leipzig, 1731]
Gott sei uns gnadig und barmherzig: Response:
18 Chorales, BWV 651-668, "Leipziger Chorale": Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 657
Nun danket alle Gott

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