Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works
Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - Part 6: Mvts. 33-40
Discussions in the Week of September 12, 2004
Neil Halliday wrote (September 10, 2004):
SJP aria: 'Zerfliesse, mein Herze" [Mvt. 35]
This is, of course, another of Bach's outstanding, and very moving arias. Its unique feature is the repeated-note figure in the continuo, with the first note of the group usually silent - a wonderful touch by Bach.
I have four recordings - Richter/Lear, Münchinger/Ameling, Rilling/Augér, and Koopman/York - none of which are perfect, but all worth having.
Lear is of the old school, but she controls her vibrato well; on the long notes at "Höchsten" and "tot" she eschews vibrato completely (at least at the beginning of the note), with very moving effect (be prepared to have your emotional composure taken away by her singing, at these places in the score).
Richter's staccato on the repeated continuo notes is a little short and unvarying, for my taste; and the continuo in general lacks 'bite' - I think the bassoon, with those repeated notes, needs to be quite vivid.
York has a clear, boyish voice, and uses practically no vibrato at all. While this is preferable to Ameling's approach (see below), there are times when I feel I would like the decorative touch of a little more vibrato to be heard. And that 'messe di voce' articulation she uses came close to annoying me at times.
Koopman has a good balance between voice and instruments, with everthing at a quietish level so that a lute can occasionally be heard in the continuo: although again, I would like a more pronounced, clearly-articulated, continuo bassoon for the repeated-note figure.
I was hoping for better from this team; despite some charming instrumental playing, the performance is somewhat straightforward and emotionally uninvolving, Auger's strong voice seems too loud for the instruments, ie, is not in good balance with the orchestra.
Why Ameling insisted on using a constant vibrato on every note in this beautiful aria, I will never know. Too much is worse than too little, apparently.
Juozas Rimas wrote (September 12, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < This is, of course, another of Bach's outstanding, and very moving arias. Its unique feature is the repeated-note figure in the continuo, with the first note of the group usually silent - a wonderful touch by Bach. >
A superb aria, quite hard to "grasp" during the first listen. Only after around 3 listen it truly "opened" to me.
In Herreweghe's 1987 version Schlick is not a soprano of my dreams (I'd appreciate Lisa Larsson, as always :) but the usually good Herreweghe's oboe d'acaccias and flutes create a fabulous atmosphere of chilliness, distress and grief.
Johannes-Passion BWV 245: Details
Recordings: Until 1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001 | Sung in English | Individual Movements
General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Systematic Discussions: Part 1: Mvts. 1-7 | Part 2: Mvts. 6-14 | Part 3: Mvts. 15-20 | Part 4: Mvts. 21-26 | Part 5: Mvts. 27-32 | Part 6: Mvts. 36-40 | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings: BWV 245 - Brüggen | BWV 245 - Cleobury | BWV 245 – Dombrecht | BWV 245 - Fasolis | BWV 245 - Gardiner | BWV 245 - Harnoncourt-Gillesberger | BWV 245 – Herreweghe | BWV 245 - Higginbottom | BWV 245 – Jochum | BWV 245 – Leusink | BWV 245 - McCreesh | BWV 245 - Neumann | BWV 245 - Parrott | BWV 245 - Richter | BWV 245 – Schreier | BWV 245 – Shaw | BWV 245 - Suzuki
Articles: Saint John Passion, BWV 245 (by Teri Noel Towe)