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Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Part 2: Mvts. 9-20

 

 

Discussions in the Week of June 13, 2004

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 17, 2004):
Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 - Introduction

According to the planned 'Order of Discussion' for 2004, the topic for this week's discussion (June 13, 2004) is Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Scene 2: Mvts. 9-20. The short notes below are based on W. Murray Young book's 'The Sacred Dramas of J.S. Bach' (McFarland & Company, 1994).

The main attractions of this part (except for the recitatives and the chorales; for the Evangelist part a special discussion is planned) are:

Mvt. 13. Aria [Soprano]: "Ich will dir mein Herze schenken"
This is a continuation of the preceding faithful woman recitative (Mvt. 12), but now bursting forth in fine lyrical expression, with a prayer motif repeated by the da-capo.

Mvt. 20 Aria [Tenor & Chorus]: "Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen"
The dialogue method between the soloist and the chorus makes an interesting musical variation for this aria. This is a da-capo of both parts and ritornelli before, after and in between the instruments alone.

I hope to see many of you participating in the discussion. And please, save personal arguments, justified or not, outside of the BCML/BRML. We are all here to discuss the music of J.S. Bach's, the greatest composer who has ever lived. Exchanging opinions and ideas about performance/recordings of his works is in the heart of these Mailing Lists. Let us allow every member wishing to contribute, expressing his/her opinion freely without fearing of being attacked by members who think differently. We shall all gain from being open to other opinions.

Dale Gedcke wrote (June 17, 2004):
Best version of SMP to purchase?

Aryeh Oron wrote: “Please stop the endless discussions of unrelated topics (reasonable/unreasonable responses, etc.) The planned topic for this week's discussion is SMP Scene 2 (see my message from last night).
Please do not asnswer to this message. Your best reponse would be writing of SMP (or any other Bach's vocal work).
I still have some hopes..."

MY QUESTION IS:

I am at the stage where I want to purchase a copy of the St. Mathew Passion, and then a copy of the St. John Passion. Normally I can find any CD of classical music that I seek either on the Wal-Mart or the Barnes and Noble web sites. But what I can find on those two sites for the SMP and SJP is a sparse selection with non of the conductors normally mentioned in this discussion group.

a) If I am going to buy one copy, what is the best rendition to purchase, and why?

b) Where can I find a good source of supply?

c) Which is the more impressive composition to buy first, SMP or SJP?

John Pike wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] My current favourite is Herreweghe 1. It is a very moving performance. Beautiful phrasing and attention to detail. Very well paced and excellent choice of tempi. The singing is generally of a very high order. The "Ebarme dich" is particularly good.

I find Amazon an excellent place to get most things. Wide range of recordings, good prices, excellent all-round service.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (June 17, 2004):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
“a) If I am going to buy one copy, what is the best rendition to purchase, and why?"
I would hesitate to nominate a best version of anything, but three recordings I think very fine in their different ways are:

Herreweghe II (on Harmonia Mundi). This is a suaver and more polished recording than his first; the orchestral playing and singing are are of a very high order. Ian Bostridge is not the greatest Evangelist in the world - he's not really an 'early music' singer (as has been pointed out) - but he's certainly not bad. Many people prefer Herreweghe's girst recording (also on Harmonia Mundi) but for me, it is seriously marred by Rene Jacobs, whose voice and mannerisms I find unappealing.

McCreesh (on Archiv). This is a OVPP performance so each of the choirs is of four solo singers, with the arias, Evangelist, etc. all being sung by members of the choirs. I find this a very stimulating performance - fresh, transparent and powerful. The 'crowd' scenes take on a new urgency when sung by what is audibly a group of individuals. He also uses a large church organ in the continuo with splendid results. It isn't always as polished a performance as some - not that bothers me - and the singers, while mostly excellent, don't always blend as well as they might. (Parrott's choice of singers in his OVPP Bach recordings seem better matched in that respect.) I wouldb't regard McCreesh as a first choice but it is fresh and exciting.

Harnoncourt III (on Teldec). For me, this is probably the best overall recommendation. Using a very fine mixed choir (unlike his first recording of the piece, whuch was all-male) it is more dramatic than Herreweghe, without being overly operatic. It strikes me as an interesting rapprochement between HIP and an older, more 'romantic' performance aesthetic. He is also one of the few conductors to use 8 vocal soloists for the arias, as specified, - Brüggen also does this but I'm not sure who else does. Pregardien is a fantastic Evangelist.

"b) Where can I find a good source of supply?"
US members would have much more knoweldge of this than me, but I've found www.amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com) very good for ordering stuff that's not available in the UK.

"c) Which is the more impressive composition to buy first, SMP or SJP?"
I'd say the SMP - it is a bigger work (not just in terms of length) and, in the end, perhpas an even more remarkable one than the SJP.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke]
a) At the moment I'd pick McCreesh in the SMP (what a gorgeous, involved, dramatic performance!) and either Fasolis or Parrott in the SJP (ditto: very good musical flow in both). Those are the recordings that I listen to, currently, for the most direct enjoyment of these pieces. I've liked many others in the past, too, and of course still do.

b) Shop around; I don't have a specific recommendation there.......

c) For me the SMP was the one to buy first. And my first one was Mogens Woldike's, which I still enjoy very much.

d) Did I just cheat and recommend two of each? I meant to recommend ten of each. :) This music is so inexhaustibly rich. Of course, it's going to sound even better when groups start using Bach's tuning. Indeed, a professional orchestra did perform the SJP in concert within the past couple of weeks, with both organs tuned to Bach's, according to someone who has been assisting me with my project; and he reported to me that the results were wonderful (citing also someone's concert review of it that the whole orchestra seemed especially "well-tuned"). [Sorry, that's all the details I can give; the conductor and the other keyboardist themselves were told only that it's a newly discovered well temperament that is probably appropriate to the music, and they were indeed willing to use it in the performance as soon as they heard the way it sounded in their rehearsals.] And that's with the Cammerton version; I hadn't yet worked out the Chorton implications that week or passed them along to my associate! The Chorton transposed version will sound even better than that, in practice. That is, both these newly-discovered solutions to the keyboard tuning problem blow away the current practice of Vallotti, equal temperament, Werckmeister, regular meantone, et al in these dramatic pieces by Bach.

Charles Francis wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] For just one copy, it has to be Matthew Passion conducted by Mogens Woldike. But personally I would suggest acquiring at least ten versions! Needless to say, the St. John is another essential masterpiece.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 17, 2004):
[the message was removed]

John Pike wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] I forgot to say that copies of Herreweghe 1 can be bought very cheaply at present from Amazon, certainly in the UK and, I suspect, elsewhere as well.

In answer to your other question. I wget the SMP before the SJP. Both are major masterpieces which you should get, but the SMP has the edge over the SJP, IMHO.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To John Pike wrote] I agree, that first Herreweghe recording is a treasure. Another good one on dramatic flow (and especially fast-paced) is Paul Goodwin's, the semi-staged Jonathan Miller production, which has been released both on Cala and Brilliant Classics. And for something completely different, the 1939 Mengelberg, a performance of special intensity.

Alfred Krause wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] At the risk of falling into some sort of flame war,

1. Wöldike's SMP is splendid, with some intuitive HIP. Hilde Rössl-Majdan is almost as good as she was for Scherchen, and Theresa Stich-Randall is even better than Arlene Augér, which is saying something.

Almost all the weaknesses are concentrated in one or two numbers: "Sind blitze, sind Donner" is very formal (or even formulaic) and lacks impact; Scherchen with smaller forces is fierce, approaching violent.

Personally, I would recommend Wöldike, with Scherchen as a "second opinion".

2. My perceptions are that general matters of interpretation (cadence, inflection, shaping of phrases) are more important than HIP vs non- HIP (or OVPP vs non- OVPP). I suspect that I and many others would have greatly enjoyed the SMP as performed by Ristenpart or even Beecham In particular I have guilty wishes that RCA had recorded it in 1937 with Stokowski instead of Koussevitsky, or that Mahler had attempted a performing edition. The closer music approaches the absolute, the more ti tends to open up and glorify possible alternate approaches.

Now I will go hide.

John Pike wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] On this occasion, Brad, I think Charles was just warmly recommending a recording which both of you happen to enjoy.

Sw Anadgyan wrote (June 17, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke]
< a) If I am going to buy one copy, what is the best rendition to purchase, and why? >
-=-=-=- The budget re-issue of Herreweghe I is indeed to consider. My latest greatly appreciated acquisition is Gustav Leonhardt on DHM. Because of their appealing tempos, ravishingly sounding choir and lack of overly done mannerisms.

< c) Which is the more impressive composition to buy first, SMP or SJP? >
-=-=-=- I never hid the fact that it took me longer to get into the SMP even if it seems to have a 'better reputation'. Both are impressive although I fell in love with the SJP first. It was easier to get acquainted to it simply because it is shorter in duration and not lacking in beautiful arias.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To John Pike] Maybe so, but his wording itself (and the timing of his posting) suggests to me that his posting was little more than mockery, dashing off any insult he could offer as quickly as he could do, whereas I'd put half an hour of thought into the things I decided to say and not say there about Chorton/Cammerton etc. In my posting I mentioned liking the Wöldike recording, and he echoed it. I recommended getting "ten" recordings and he also echoed that. That's too much to be coincidence.

If he had omitted his sentence, "But personally I would suggest acquiring at least ten versions!" I could have believed that his first sentence about the Wöldike was sincere; but that second sentence tipped it.

[the rest of the message was removed]

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke]
< a) If I am going to buy one copy, what is the best rendition to purchase, and why? >
The answer depends on what you look for in a recording. And there is much personal taste involved as well. I know, for instance, that lots of people can't stand René Jacobs (Herreweghe I, Leonhardt). But I like him very much. In fact, since he has almost completely stopped singing, I haven't found any male alto who really moves me the way Jacobs did.

Herreweghe I is a great recording. I already mentioned Jacobs, but I would like to add that I greatly admire Ulrik Cold in the role of Jesus. Also good are Hans-Peter Blochwitz and, of course, Peter Kooy. The weakness is the Evangelist Howard Crook. I prefer a more rhetorical and detailed performance of that part.

But for me Leonhardt has the edge. He uses boys' and men voices only (another factor which tends to divide Bach lovers) and almost all soloists are of the highest calibre (Prégardien, Mertens, Van Egmond, Jacobs). Only the alto David Cordier (a little too bland) and the bass Peter Lika (too operatic) are slight weaknesses.

I would like to have an OVPP-version as alternative, but for me McCreesh is unacceptable.

< c) Which is the more impressive composition to buy first, SMP or SJP? >
If I had to choose, I would take the St John Passion. It is the more dramatic of the two, as it concentrates more on the story and takes less time for reflecting (arias). It is the more austere Passion, and that's exactly why I prefer it.

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: < My latest greatly appreciated acquisition is Gustav Leonhardt on DHM. Because of their appealing tempos, ravishingly sounding choir and lack of overly done mannerisms. >
Most interesting. There are quite a lot of people who find Leonhardt's interpretation very 'mannerist', in particular the way he performs the chorales.

I guess that's exactly the reason I love it.

Stevan Vasiljevic wrote (June 18, 2004):
< a) If I am going to buy one copy, what is the best rendition to purchase, and why? >
I would reccomend Suzuki, published by BIS in 1999. Why, I wrote in 2001 on www.jsbach.org and still agree with that, although now I'd be little more restrained:

Orchestra, choir, vocal soloists and solo instruments sound exactly what they should when performing vocal-instrumental piece by Bach (most adequate sound I've ever herd out of dozens). Every movement, every note is worked to perfection, not just technicaly, but artisticly too. One can truly expirience the drama and a message Bach is trying to convey through the Passion. This recording should be regarded as a milestone and a model of how Bach should be performed: http://www.jsbach.org/suzukistmatthewpassion.html

< c) Which is the more impressive composition to buy first, SMP or SJP? >
I will not advise you on which Passion to buy first, instead I recommend that you first buy a COMPLETE recording of either one, not one of those CDs that contain only arias and choruses. Those arias and choruses are MUCH more effective when you hear them in a whole context of a Passion. For example: 'Erbarme dich' is a wonderful aria, but when you know that it comes after Peter's bitter crying (because he has denied Jesus.although he said that he wouldn't, even if he were to die), it is immensely more striking. I myself did not like SJP that much until I heard the whole thing, and it was the same performance - both 'compact' and 'complete' edition were from Gardiner's performance in 1986.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (June 18, 2004):
Johan van Veen wrote: "I would like to have an OVPP-version as alternative, but for me McCreesh is unacceptable."
I know you are not happy with McCreesh, Johan, and I have some reservations. For me, it is important that there is a OVPP recording available, but I do wish someone had recorded Kuijken's recent (or is it imminent?) interpretation of the piece. I find Dutch and Flemish performances of Bach generally to be preferable to English ones (with the exception of Parrott's)

Charles Francis wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] [the message was removed]

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] [the message was removed]

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 18, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote: < I find Dutch and Flemish performances of Bach generally to be preferable to English ones (with the exception of Parrott's) >
Does it have anything to do with the quality of the German?

Joost wrote (June 18, 2004):
On this I fully agree with Johan - the first Herreweghe SMP is great, but Leonhardt is better. Apart from all it's virtues Johan already me, it is one of the very few recordings that uses separate soloists for the separate choirs. If you are looking for a SJP in the same league, try Sigiswald Kuijken's on DHM.

And very much OT, but I cannot resist mentioning it: my favourite SJP is not JSB's, but Alessandro Scarlatti's Passio secundum Johannum. The recording on DHM is in my all time top ten - and it is there to stay.

Wang Xiao-yun wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] I don't know what is the mannerism about Leonhardt's SMP, but it is my favorite version. I just like every aspect of this interpretation.

Sigiswald Kuijken's SJP came to me together with Leonhardt's SMP in a DHM box set and I like both dearly. I would wholeheartedly recommend the two Passions to anyone.

Due to my geographical limitation, I don't have a big selection pool available. Hope one day I would compare them with Herreweghe's and Harnoncourt's.

Paul Farseth wrote (June 18, 2004):
Mogens Wöldike's version is very good, but is indeed (as others have noted) lacking in energy in the climactic scene of the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. I believe there is a nice recording done by Rilling (that I no longer have) that gets across that tumult with fine terror and that also does the following "O Mensch bewein dein Suende gross" in a revealing way, where the fevered breathing and pounding heart gradually slow down as the piece goes on. Maybe there is an LP set (not on CD?) done by Muenchinger that has similar clarity.

Has anyone heard the performance in English that Leonard Bernstein led?

Jeremy Martin wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Paul Farseth] I have listened to the English Performance that Leonard Bernstein led of the St. Matthew Passion BWV 244. I had checked it out from the Library. The last track on CD 2 was of Bernstein talking about the Symbolism in the work and I found it very interesting. Bernstein talked of how whenever Jesus speaks in the work the strings play as if to give a Light around Him (or Halo I guess you could say) yet when the mortal men spoke it was not present, then Bernstein points out that when Jesus cries out from the Cross this light produced by the strings was no longer there for Jesus had become mortal. I do not remember the exact words but I remember it was very interesting along with other things he said and I remember him concluding if I recall correctly that "One could spend a life time finding symbolism within the St. Matthew's Passion and a lifetime would probably not be long enough to find it all."

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Wang Xiao-yun] Yes, Kuijken's SJP is perhaps the best version available.

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] [this part of the message was removed]

Talking of Parrotts (deliberate mis-spelling), many thanks to you and Gabriel for recommending the Parrott recordings of the SMP/SJP. Last night, I took up the recommendation and ordered it through Amazon.co.uk marketplace. One of the suppliers (direct offers) was offering a Virgin box set of Parrott's recordings of the SMP, B minor mass, Easter Oratorio and Ascension Oratorio (5 CDs). Total cost, including postage UKP 12.36. This is unbelievably good value for money. I hope some other people out there will take advantage of it.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] No. I don't speak German so I wouldn't be able to assess that. When it comes to choirs, I find English groups rather too bright - I like the slightly more 'covered', sound of choirs like the Nederlands Kamerkoor (the best choir in the world as far as I am concerned) and the Colegium Vocale of Ghenr. There can be something slightly bland yet efficient about British instrumental playing in this repertoire too.

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Joost] CPE Bach also "wrote" a SJP. The music was discovered in the Singakademie manuscripts retrieved from Kiev. The first recording has recently been released but it was awarded only 2* in BBC Music Magazine and much of the music is apparently not by CPE Bach originally. Does anyone have more information on the history of this work or on the names of the composers of the other material in the Passion?

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Ah, yes. I had noticed that a lot of English HIP vocal soloists sound like they are smiling all the time when they sing... I on the other hand have heard complaints that I don't smile enough when I sing :) So maybe the problem with the English performers in question is simply too much of a good thing?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (June 18, 2004):
Cara Emily Thronton wrote: "So maybe the problem with the English performers in question is simply too much of a good thing?"
Could be. I'm a huge fan of the English choral tradition - we have many wonderful choirs here - but we can be a bit smug about it. It would do choral singers in Britain no harm to reflect that there are other great choral traditions in Europe, particularly in the Low Countries, Germany and Scandinavia.

Charles Francis wrote (June 18, 2004):
[part of the message was removed]
[to John Pike] Which supplier was offering the Parrot, by the way?

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
John Pike wrote: >> CPE Bach also "wrote" a SJP. The music was discovered in the Singakademie manuscripts retrieved from Kiev. The first recording has recently been released but it was awarded only 2* in BBC Music Magazine and much of the music is apparently not by CPE Bach originally. Does anyone have more information on the history of this work or on the names of the composers of the other material in the Passion?<<
Which performance was that?

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] It was a marketplace supplier on www.amazon.co.uk called directoffers.

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] I'm really sorry, Johan. I have now disposed of the BBC Music Magazine. I was so put off by the rating that I decided not to get it. I have hundreds of other CDs higher on my wish list. If I come across it again, I will post details

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Oh gosh! LOL Is that friendly or Friendly?

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] I think there are a couple of factors here.

The language is definitely a problem for some singers whose native language is English. It seems to be pretty difficult for them to pronunciate German correctly. BTW, the opposite is true as well: I really don't want to hear English choral music by German choirs. It just doesn't sound natural. I think a lot has to do with the fact that English is a more 'fluent' language. I often use the comparison that English is a 'legato' language, whereas German sounds more 'non-legato'. If you are used to one of them, it is difficult to adopt the other. And I am not sure that all English singers or conductors are fully aware of the fundamental differences between the two. This has its effect on the performance of instrumental music as well, since in the baroque instrumental music is based on vocal music, and basically follows the same rules in regard to phrasing and articulation.

Another factor is that college and cathedral choirs are mostly singing renaissance and 19th & 20th-century music. Most of this repertoire requires predominantly legato singing. And even when they sing English baroque music - Purcell, Blow, etc - they don't articulate as sharply as when German choirs sing German music of the same period - Schütz, Bach etc -, and rightly so, since English music shouldn't be articulated the same way as German music.

But I hasten to add that there is no automatism here. There are some British solo singers who are excellent in German music. I think I recently mentioned Charles Daniels, whom I once heard as Evangelist in Bach's SMP, and that was just brilliant. And the performance of the treble Connor Burrows in Simon Heighes' reconstruction of Bach's St Mark Passion is just as impressive. And some choirs are doing pretty well in continental, including German, music. The Choir of New College Oxford is an excellent example. And believme, there are poor performances of German music by German choirs as well.

It is also a matter of tradition. We in the Netherlands have a very long tradition of performing Bach. In the Passiontide numerous performances of Bach's Passions take place, by professional choirs as well as amateur choirs. I assume that very few amateur choirs have never performed Bach's Passions at least once. And Dutch is definitely closer to German than to English. That also helps.

Johan van Veen wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Well, when singers are smiling while singing the SMP there is definitely something wrong ;)

One could ask if they really know what they are singing. Maybe the British problem is that they are not used to take things as dead serious as Germans mostly do.

Reinhard Goebel once said - I think it was to explain why the collaboration with Ton Koopman came to an end - that music making is not entertainment. I think many - most? - British musicians wholeheartedly disagree.

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] My wife, who is German, was most impressed with Peter Pears' pronunciation in his performance of "Winterreise".

On another tangent, I was recommended to get Pears/Britten's recording of the SJP, sung in English. It is a fine performance but I am so put off by hearing it in English. I find it almost impossible to listen to it now for that reason.

John Pike wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] I don't think it really matters. Did you see Charles' posting that prompted the "signature"? Maybe I should have written "fiendly" instead.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (June 18, 2004):
Johan van Veen wrote: "I think there are a couple of factors here. The language is definitely a problem for some singers whose native language is English. It seems to be pretty difficult for them to pronunciate German correctly. BTW, the opposite is true as well: I really don't want to hear English choral music by German choirs. It just doesn't sound natural. I think a lot has to do with the fact that English is a more 'fluent' language. I often use the comparison that English is a 'legato' language, whereas German sounds more 'non-legato'. If you are used to one of them, it is difficult to adopt the other. And I am not sure that all English singers or conductors are fully aware of the fundamental differences between the two. This has its effect on the performance of instrumental music as well, since in the baroque instrumental music is based on vocal music, and basically follows the same rules in regard to phrasing and articulation."
I'm sure this is absolutely right, Johan.

"And some choirs are doing pretty well in continental, including German, music. The Choir of New College Oxford is an excellent example."
And the sound of the boys at New College (what we used to call 'continental tone') is much closer to the sound of German boys than most English cathedral and college choirs. Of course we have no idea whether German trebles today sound anything like Bach's trebles did.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 18, 2004):
[To John Pike] Of course I saw it. That's why I wrote what I did. You did catch the allusion, didn't you?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 20, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] I could help you here.

I would recommend (in chronological order)

Helmuth Rilling's 1997 recording of the Johannespassion (all versions)

Peter Neumann's recording of the Johannespassion (1725 version)

Henning's recording of the Matthaeuspassion (1727/1729 version)

Günther Ramin's recording of the Johannespassion (unperformed 1739 version)

Karl Richter's last (1979) recording of the Matthaeuspassion (1742 version)

either Suzuki's or Max's recording of the Johannespassion (1749 version)

Christoph Spering's recording of the Matthaeuspassion (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's 1841 version)

The Mauersberger brothers' recording of the Matthaeuspassion (Modern version)

I would also recommend the following to round off the Passion collection

Brembeck's recording of the Passionspasticcio on the Keiser/Bruhns Markuspassion (1712 Weimar version)

Helbing's recording of the Apocryphal Lukaspassion

Roy Goodman's version of the Markuspassion

Edition Bachakademie Vols. 69, 73, and 79


Impromptus: Bach's Themes: Matthäuspassion BWV 244

Henry N. Levinspuhl wrote (June 17, 2004):
Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen,
Come, daughters, help me bewail,

The lament’s reason portrays its nature. When, as the daughters of Zion, we are invited to moan in contemplating the bridegroom, the comprehension’s intricate texture, that human heart’s profound well, unfathomable even under the shrewd lenses of a genuine psychological flair, sets in soul the deepest reasons, being the most united lamentations nevertheless different ones; for there are not two individuals entirely equal in the whole world. Such inequality is yet welcome when, in the aggregate of motives that embrace the sincere emotions, truth is mixed, rooted so intimately that turns natural its presidency over the feelings. This is not a heap of senseless emotive exacerbation; not a moment of frenetic and corybantic impetus; not an uncontrollable catharsis’ excitement (neither induced nor spontaneous); not a confusion of chaotic and misgoverned fiery impulses ascending voluptuously from the shady cavern of unconsciousness; not an electric explosion of immoderate decibels in search for a maddened frenzy, void and insignificant; but love and truth embracing each other, and the contrition for the squandered time far from that atriums of love, that chamber inside the human soul, where eternity and paradise touch each other and whisper their affectionate choir and aria, where God and man are one, where the unity that seemed impossible is fulfilled to the astonishment of the humble man, where, to each of his tears, there is a reason of love.


Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Details
Recordings: Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - Bernstein | BWV 244 - Brüggen | BWV 244 – Cleobury | BWV 244 - Fasolis | BWV 244 - Furtwängler | BWV 244 - Gardiner | BWV 244 - Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - Goodwin | BWV 244 – Guttenberg | BWV 244 - Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - Herreweghe | BWV 244 - Karajan | BWV 244 - Klemperer | BWV 244 - Kuijken | BWV 244 - Lehmann | BWV 244 - Leonhardt | BWV 244 - Leusink | BWV 244 - Max | BWV 244 - McCreesh | BWV 244 - Mengelberg | BWV 244 - Münchinger | BWV 244 - Ozawa | BWV 244 – Ramin | BWV 244 - Richter | BWV 244 – Rilling | BWV 244 - Scherchen | BWV 244 - Solti | BWV 244 - Spering | BWV 244 - Suzuki | BWV 244 - Veldhoven | BWV 244 – Walter | BWV 244 - Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [by Teri Noel Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [by Uri Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [by Donald Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [By Joshua Rifkin]

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: ýJuly 3, 2004 ý19:19:08