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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

Johannes-Passion BWV 245
Conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Hans Gillesberger

V-12

J.S. Bach: Johannes-Passion

 

Johannes-Passion BWV 245

Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Hans Gillesberger

Wiener Sängerknaben & Chorus Viennensis / Concentus Musicus Wien

Tenor [Evangelist]: Kurt Equiluz; Bass [Jesus, Nos. 31, 60]: Max van Egmond; Trebles & Alto Soloists from the Wiener Sängerknaben; Bass [Pilate; No. 48]: Jacques Villisech; Tenor [Arias, Servant]: Bert van t'Hoff; Bass [Peter]: Siegfried Schneeweis

Teldec

Apr 5-23, 1965

2-CD / TT: 116:53

Recorded in Vienna, Austria.
1st recording of Johannes-Passion BWV 245 by N. Harnoncourt
See: Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - conducted By Nikolaus Harnoncourt & Hans Gillesberger
Buy this album at: Amazon.com [MP3 Download]

V-13

J.S. Bach: Johannes-Passion

Johannes-Passion BWV 245

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Tölzer Knabenchor / Concentus Musicus Wien

Tenor: [Evangelist]: Kurt Equiluz; Bass [Jesus]: Robert Holl; Boy Soprano: Helmut Wittek; Boy Altos: Panito Iconomou, Christian Immler; Tenor: Thomas Moser; Bass: Anton Scharinger

Deutsche Grammophon - Unitel

Jun 26-30, 1985

DVD / TT: 114:00

Recorded & filmed at Dom, Graz, Austria.
2nd recording of Johannes-Passion BWV 245 by N. Harnoncourt. 
Buy this album at: Amazon.de | Amazon.co.uk

V-14

Bach: Johannes Passion

Johannes-Passion BWV 245

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Chorus Master: Erwin Ortner) / Concentus Musicus Wien

Tenor [Evangelist & Arias]: Anthony Rolfe-Johnson; Bass [Jesus]: Robert Holl; Soprano [Arias & Ancilla]: Angela Maria Blasi; Contralto [Arias]: Marjana Lipovšek; Tenor [Servus]: Franz Leitner; Bass [Petrus, Pilatus & Arias]: Anton Scharinger

Teldec

Oct-Nov 1993

2-CD / TT: 110:05

3rd recording of Johannes-Passion BWV 245 by N. Harnoncourt.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Gillesberger Johannes-Passion

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (January 8, 2001):
The recording made in April and July, 1965 of the Johannes-passion, released on LP (5 sides) by Telefunken (Das alte Werk) SKH 19, Wiener Sängerknaben, Chorus Viennensis, Concentus Musicus Wien, Dirigent Hans Gillesberger, with soloists Kurt Equiluz (Tenor, Evangelist), Max van Egmond (Bass, Jesus/ arioso # 31, Arie # 60), Jacques Villisch (Bass, Pilatus/ Arie mit Chor #48), Bert van t'Hoff (Tenor, Diener/ Arien), Solisten der Wiener Sängerknaben (Soprano und Alt, Magd/ Arien) is one which has since 1968 brought me the most pleasure and against which no other recording has ever affected me, esp., but not exclusively, in the singing by (the rules in effect at that time) anonymous boy alto of the "Es ist vollbracht".

We are told "Alle Instrumente in alter Mesur und Stimmung etwas ein halber Ton unter Normal".

I am not a musicologist at all and a friend who is a musician objects to this and says it to be "inauthentic".

So, two questions: Has this ever been transferred to CD (I have transferred mine to casette lest the LP's wear out)?

Is this a realistic HIP performance by today's perspective and especially with regards to the half tone decrease?

Charles Francis wrote (January 8, 2001):
(To Yoël L. Arbeitman) Yes, I have this recording on CD. Actually the conductor is the infamous Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gillesberger is the chorus master. This performance is very good, BTW, so it probably predates Harnoncourt's experimental interlude.

The CD-number is 2292-42492-2 on Teldec Classics (Das Alte Werk).

Strangely enough, I was listening to this very recording yesterday! I was somewhat intrigued by the CD notes on performing Figured Bass (ignore what Bach wrote and just play the chord briefly) - Harnoncourt give a 1774 source (Jean Baumgartner) to show this practice was "still" in use - on the other hand he doesn't give a source to show Bach actually used such a convention himself. Recently, I was at a Christmas Oratorio concert and following the music with a score (Urtext) - it was a very un-HIP performance with a huge chorus, but sure enough the Harpsichord player from the Lucerne orchestra ignored what Bach wrote and followed the Harnoncourt doctrine.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (January 8, 2001):
(To Charles Francis) No Harnoncourt doctrine, sir! It is described in Matthesons Volkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg 1739, published in facsimile by Baerenreiter) and the continuo parts of the MP follow this exact same practice. So your remarks about 'doctrine' are completely unfounded.

Charles Francis wrote (January 8, 2001):
[To Sybrand Bakker] Thank you for the quick reply. Is this book still in print by any chance?

The documents surrounding the Scheibe controversy indicate that Bach was in the habit of writing out ornaments and the like to prevent misinterpretation by the performer (it appears from the correspondence that this was not the general practice in Germany at the time, but somewhat exceptional, although not unique to Bach). Bach's principle seems to have been to pin down the performance as accurately as possible in the score to prevent possible misinterpretation by less talented interpreters. So why didn't Bach write rests, if that was what he intended? Keep in mind he ignored one "convention" just to ensure accuracy of interpretation.

Philip Peters wrote (January 9, 2001):
Charles Francis wrote:
< Yes, I have this recording on CD. Actually the conductor is the infamous Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gillesberger is the chorus master. This performance is very good, BTW, so it probably predates Harnoncourt's experimental interlude. >
Yes indeed, I was confused. You are right, this is of course the Harnoncourt recording! Didn't Gillesberger also conduct some Bach himself? I have a memory of some cantatas or am I off the mark again?

 

St. John Passion – Harnoncourt/Gillesberger

Laurent Planchon wrote (June 28, 2001):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< - The pathbreaking original instruments set by Harnoncourt, CMW, and the Vienna Boys' Choir, c1971 - Bill, there's your recommendation for Kurt Equiluz as evangelist - Teldec 8.35018 >
I my memory is accurate, Harnoncourt was originally not credited the leadership on this one, but Gillesberger was ("Gesamtleitung" or similar). I guess we have the same situation as with the Jürgens' Vespers.

Harnoncourt II (1995) on the other hand is entirely his own, and apart from Anthony Ralf-Johnson's German, everything is admirable.

As far as Equiluz is concerned (and I understand why you would want him), I guess you indeed have to go for Harnoncourt I / Gillesberger, but I somehow doubt that it is still available.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 29, 2001):
[To Laurent Planchon] Intrigued by this conducting credits thing, last night I pulled the LP boxes off the shelf to take a look. It's pretty interesting.

I have the Telefunken boxes "BACH - JOHANNES-PASSION - HARNONCOURT" and "BACH - WEIHNACHTSORATORIUM - HARNONCOURT" according to their spines: yellow print on maroon. The Christmas Oratorio is 1973; the SJP looks to be a 1975 reissue, having acquired a "Grand Prix du Disque" claim on the front.

The front cover of the SJP box has no performers' names. This performance appears to have been recorded as early as 1964, 65, or 66(?) but first released 1971. On the back of the box the credits are:
soloists...
Wiener Saengerknaben - Chorus Viennensis
Leitung - Conductor - Direction. Hans Gillesberger
(space)
(larger:) Concentus musicus Wien
(smaller:) Leitung - Conductor - Direction
(larger:) Nikolaus Harnoncourt
(space)
(smaller:) Gesamtleitung - Musical direction - Direction d'ensemble
(larger:) Hans Gillesberger

So, with Harnoncourt's and Gillesberger's names in the largest size and G credited last for "Gesamtleitung", G seems to be the conductor ultimately in charge.

BUT: in the booklet (which incidentally is the only thing with a 1975 on it), Gillesberger is mentioned only with the chorus credits. Harnoncourt is credited as leader of the CMW. And then, after a space, it has "Gesamtleitung: NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT".

And the list of musicians makes clear that this is a combination of the CMW and the Leonhardt Consort, not just the CMW. (The plot thickens...) LC membership is noted next to their names. Gustav Leonhardt plays organ in the arias and recitatives, and Herbert Tachezi (CMW's regular keyboard player) in the choruses. There's only one organ in the instrument list. This leaves Leonhardt with nothing to do during the choruses.... Harnoncourt is playing cello and viola da gamba.

So, what do we have in this collaboration?

The hotshot team of Harnoncourt and Leonhardt together on continuo led all the recitatives and arias, probably without Gillesberger. It's pretty clear that Gillesberger conducted the choruses, especially since he had rehearsed them and he was present anyway. In the choruses it's possible that Leonhardt (and his players?) wasn't even at the sessions; every part is covered without them. If Leonhardt had done any conducting, it would seem that he'd get credit here.

The booklet's cover has a nice session photo of arioso #31: Max von Egmond singing, Alice Harnoncourt and Kurt Theiner on viole d'amore, Eugen Dombois on lute, NH on viola da gamba, GL on organ. The photo credit is to Theiner, that player of the "viola of love." Judging from the outfits and hairstyles, and the way everybody looks so young, this is the mid-1960's.

Now, back to the Christmas Oratorio: the box is like the SJP box, but Harnoncourt is now credited on the front. On the back Gillesberger is listed as the chorus conductor, as in the SJP, but there is no longer a big "Hans Gillesberger" anywhere. The credit for "Gesamtleitung - Musical Direction - Direction d'ensemble" goes to NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT.

To sum up: by the time the SJP was released, the cantatas cycle by Harnoncourt and Leonhardt was underway. None of those ever had either name on the spine. For the big choral works outside the cantatas cycle, Harnoncourt's name went onto the spine...probably because he had the best "name" draw for selling more records. (As you mentioned re the Juergens sets of other repertoire with Harnoncourt/CMW, credits were shared...Harnoncourt and the choral conductor.)

Whatever happened to Juergen Juergens and Hans Gillesberger after Telefunken started giving Harnoncourt most of the credit? Just wondering.

Anyway, this St John Passion was a landmark. It was (I believe) the first Telefunken recording of any of the Bach choral works with a band of original instruments. As I'd mentioned a few weeks ago, there were NH/GL records of solo cantatas earlier than that on Vanguard/Bach Guild. But this SJP along with the first few volumes of cantatas really started the flood: the comprehensive project on Telefunken.

As the cover says:
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johannes-Passion
Erste Schallplattenproduktion in Originalbesetzung mit Originalinstrumenten

Laurent Planchon wrote (June 29, 2001):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Intrigued by this conducting credits thing, last night I pulled the LP boxes off the shelf to take a look. It's pretty interesting. [...] The hotshot team of Harnoncourt and Leonhardt together on continuo led all the recitatives and arias, probably without Gillesberger. >
This is actually fascinating. When you consider how different their musical temperaments are (as you can hear in the cantata series), you wonder how they could lead together. It must have been rather interesting to attend the recording sessions.
And if you add Gillesberger on top of that, who certainly had his own vision of the work ...

< To sum up: by the time the SJP was released, the cantatas cycle by Harnoncourt and Leonhardt was underway. None of those ever had either name on the spine. For the big choral works outside the cantatas cycle, Harnoncourt's name went onto the spine...probably because he had the best "name" draw for selling more records. >
Unless it was because the balance of all the ultimate musical choices and options weighed more in his direction. Somehow both Gillesberger and Leonhardt must have been asked and have agreed about it. Unless I am being a bit naive.

< Anyway, this St John Passion was a landmark. It was (I believe) the first Telefunken recording of any of the Bach choral works with a band of original instruments. >
What about the Bauern and Koffee cantatas by H/CMW ? Somehow I have the uncertain impression that it was recorded in 1969 and probably released around that time, but I might be completely off by years.

Thanks for checking it and for your analysis.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 29, 2001):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
<< Anyway, this St John Passion was a landmark. It was (I believe) the first Telefunken recording of any of the Bach choral works with a band of original instruments. >>
Laurent Planchon (Etienne Alatienne) wrote:
< What about the Bauern and Koffee cantatas by H/CMW? Somehow I have the uncertain impression that it was recorded in 1969 and probably released around that time, but I might be completely off by years. >
Good question, and pretty close. The Bauern (BWV 212)/Kaffee (BWV 211) album (Telefunken 9515) says on its back that it was recorded May 1967. These two secular pieces are cantatas, but have no chorus (only the soloists in ensemble). And as I said, the St John (released 1971) was recorded earlier, sometime between 1964 and 66 unless I'm interpreting the clues incorrectly. It has some instruments dated 1964 (copies) and the back of the box has a (P)1966.

In the album photo for Bauern/Kaffee, Max von Egmond sure looks young and has, er, unstylish eyewear!

I'm surprised to see a recording date mentioned at all on an LP this old. I'll put it on right now and make some coffee to go with it. Nice. And they're using an Italian harpsichord. :)

No, I don't have _all_ this vocal works series on LP...you just happened to hit one of the handful that I do have!

"Mister taxcollector, have a heart!
We poor country-folk are not so smart, ah!
Leave us just our hair, would you strip us bare?
Like a caterpillar on a weed? Oh no indeed!"

"Love's a feeling hard to beat
When a loving pair get sweet,
Feels as if down in your gizzards
Fleas and bugs and wasps lizards
In a fearful fight collide
Round and round in your inside."

"Fifty dollars ready cash
We have freely spent on this affair
Which would seem a little rash
If you take away our very hair.
What is gone, is gone for good,
But if someone only would
Loosen up a bit our collars,
We'll forget the fifty dollars."

- Picander, arias in this Peasant Cantata, BWV 212
(translator uncredited on the album)

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 30, 2001):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< (SNIP) And as I said, the St John (released 1971) was recorded earlier, sometime between 1964 and 1966 unless I'm interpreting the clues incorrectly. It has some instruments dated 1964 (copies) and the back of the box has a (P)1966. >
As I've posted a while ago here (I believe that Brad was not on the list or, at least not posting then), I bought the LPs of this recording in c. Aug.- Sept., 1968. It was strongly recommended to me by a arcane record shop young man whose recommendations I totally trusted ("arcane" refers to the shop). He did not have it for sale in his shop and told me that it had been around for a while and now was temporarily out of print. This was in Greenwich Village, NY. He told me that, If I took busses for about 1.5 hours to a stop on the road in NJ, I could obtain the only available copy he knew of. At that time "I swore by the Richter". My "advisor" told me that once I heard the Gillesberger-Harnoncourt (we only referred to it then and I until recently as the Gillesberger) I would no longer want to listen to the Richter. I know that some persons on this list enjoy and rejoice in the Richter. I respect that of course. I disposed of my Richter. I simply could not hear it again. This was the greatest Bach experience I have had and totally changed my Bach listening habits back then in 1968.

 

Gillesberger/Harnoncourt (?) St. John Passion

Peter Hoogenboom wrote (September 7, 2001):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< I assume that there is reason why this was known ab initio as the Gillesberger Johannes Passion. >
I am going to be speaking with Max van Egmond this weekend. (Note the correct spelling of his name.) I will ask him about this recording if the opportunity arises.

Charles Francis wrote (September 7, 2001):
[To Peter Hoogenboom] This recording from 1965 can be highly recommended. Granted there are violent deviations from Bach's score in the recitatives, but otherwise the performance is wonderful. There is nothing to suggest Harnoncourt's later avant-garde 'HIP' doctrines and none of that 'primitive sound' which so marred his subsequent work. The chorales are sung in exemplary manner, in full accord with the precepts of Mattheson, and the instrumental playing is admirable. The performance is full of drama and in my opinion a "must-have".

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 7, 2001):
[To Charles Francis] Hi Charles, can you please say a bit more about the "violent deviations from the score" in the recitatives? Are you thinking of something beyond the basso continuo notes being played short, and vocal appoggiaturas?

Charles Francis wrote (September 7, 2001):
[To Bradley Lehman] No, I was just referring to the basso continuo notes being played short as you put it, i.e. that well known habit of playing rests where Bach wrote notes.

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 8, 2001):
[To Charles Francis] If my memory serves, Harnoncourt has an essay about that in his blue book, The Musical Dialogue: Thoughts on Monteverdi, Bach and Mozart.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1574670239

I have only his other book (Baroque Music Today: Music As Speech) at hand, though, and in that one he glosses over it pretty quickly: "The very simple basses [in Italianate recitative] are positioned below in long note values despite the fact that they may be played as short notes. This has been proved beyond question and so serves as a further example of the difference between modern scores and the sound that was intended." (p36 of English-language edition). That is part of his section where he is contrasting Italianate and French recitative notation in his essay "Problems of Notation."

He also notes the important distinction: "(...)Despite the seeming certitude of this [general] notational system, two quite different principles govern their use: 1. The work, the composition itself, is notated: but the details of its interpretation cannot be deduced from the notation. 2. The performance is notated: in this case, the notation includes directions for performance; it does not indicate, as in the former case, the form and structure of the composition (the interpretation of which must be deduced from other sources), but rather describes the interpretation as precisely as possible: this passage is to be played in this way. The work then, in theory, emerges automatically, as it were, during performance. In general, music prior to about 1800 is notated according to the work-principle and thereafter as a direction for performance." (p29)

All of Bach's music is of course written with method 1. Sources outside the score tell one how to play the score.

If you're reading it as if it were method 2, seeing those long notes in the bass and faithfully playing what you see, that would be (according to Harnoncourt) a violent deviation from Bach's intentions.... :)

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 8, 2001):
Brad quotes from Harnoncourt's book:
< I have only his other book (Baroque Music Today: Music As Speech) at hand, though, and in that one he glosses over it pretty quickly: "The very simple basses [in Italianate recitative] are positioned below in long note values despite the fact that they may be played as short notes. This has been proved beyond question and so serves as a further example of the difference between modern scores and the sound that was intended." >
When Harnoncourt states: "The very simple basses are positioned below in long note values despite the fact that they may be played as short notes." his words describe exactly what appears in the illustrations included in the Baumgartner treatise. I am almost certain that this is the source he is referring to. This is the first time in my life that I have seen the long whole notes of the recitative and below them the shortened manner in which they should be played, albeit with the arpeggiated upward sweeping chord that Harnoncourt omitted mentioning. If this list accepted attachments, I would have included this one.

As far as forcing all of Bach's compositions into category one, where, for instance, in the choral works there are clear indications as to how Bach wanted to have them performed, it makes no sense to me, to maintain that only sources outside the score (possible Harnoncourt himself?) can tell you how to perform Bach's music. Sorry, this type of reasoning eludes me!

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 8, 2001):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< As far as forcing all of Bach's compositions into category one, where, for instance, in the choral works there are clear indications as to how Bach wanted to have them performed, it makes no sense to me, to maintain that only sources outside the score (possible Harnoncourt himself?) can tell you how to perform Bach's music. Sorry, this type of reasoning eludes me! >
I agree with you, Tom: that reasoning is tenuous. And as someone (might have been you) pointed out recently, Harnoncourt isn't really a choral conductor.... :) He gets his choruses and soloists to sound, well, instrumental! That is to me sometimes attractive but also sometimes distracting.

I much prefer the way Ph Herreweghe can get his instrumentalists to sound as if they're singing, and aware of what the text is doing. That's important! I'd rather hear sound like singers, as he gets, than vice versa as Harnoncourt gets.

Play instrumental lines as if you're singing them...that's a very good place to start in Bach interpretation. That's something that Parmentier has his harpsichord students do, finding the sung text for an instrumental piece or inventing one, and I always found (and still find) it very helpful. It leads to good articulation and accentuation within a nicely shaped phrase, plus it helps the player focus on a selected Affekt with some consistency. For example, I know Parmentier's phantom text in the fugal section of the partita #6 first movement starts: "Mein Heiland, mein Heiland, ..." I think Leonhardt does this text-painting when he plays or conducts, too. (And of course Herreweghe and Parmentier both worked with Leonhardt.)

On the other hand, some of Bach's solo vocal lines ARE very instrumental........

 

Peter Hoogenboom wrote (September 30, 2001):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< It could be nice if you summerize for us your conversation with Max van Egmond. >
Sorry this took so long; things have been rather hectic since the 11th. But, at last, here are some answers for some of the questions raised in this thread.

Essentially, Max van Egmond told me that Gillesberger conducted the recording sessions for all the movements that involved the chorus; the rest of the movements were led by Harnoncourt, who played cello or gamba. The increasing prominence of Harnoncourt's name as the recording was repackaged over the years was a marketing decision by the record company, because of Harnoncourt's growing name-recognition factor.

This is largely in agreement with Bradley Lehman's speculations in his message of 29 June. However, I didn't ask about Leonhardt's contribution to the musical leadership. Max did say that there was no tension between Gillesberger and Harnoncourt. I suspect that Leonhardt was just playing, or Max would have mentioned something. Of course, I don't mean to suggest that Leonhardt wouldn't have been participating in the usual leadership role required by the continuo keyboardist. But I don't think he had an official role in the artistic leadership of the project.

< Etienne Alatienne wrote: Unless it was because the balance of all the ultimate musical choices and options weighed more in his direction. Somehow both Gillesberger and Leonhardt must have been asked and have agreed about it. Unless I am being a bit naive. >
Max's comments would lead me to think that you are indeed being overly naive. He talked about the fact that he often learns of the release or re-release of a recording he's made by seeing it in a store, or by hearing from a friend that the recording is out. In light of that, probably neither Harnoncourt nor Gillesberger (and certainly not Leonhardt) was consulted about the marketing of the recording.

And, on a different topic, from the earliest reaches of time (as far as this thread is concerned), and not having anything to do with my conversation with Max:

Y. L. Arbeitman wrote:
< We are told "Alle Instrumente in alter Mesur und Stimmung etwas ein halber Ton unter Normal".
I am not a musicologist at all and a friend who is a musician objects to this and says it to be "inauthentic". >
Most "period instrument" groups tune their a' to 415 cycles per second for most late-baroque music. 415 cps is very close to a half-step below 440 cps. (Under equal temperament, if a=440 then a-flat is 415.3047.) The practice's authenticity, or lack thereof, depends on the definition of "authenticity" (of course).

Charles Francis wrote (September 30, 2001):
[To Peter Hoogenboom] Thanks so much for this input! I was unfortunately taken in by the misleading Teldec marketing regarding the "Harnoncourt" brand name, for as I wrote some months ago:

8th January: "Yes, I have this recording on CD. Actually the conductor is the infamous Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gillesberger is the chorus master. This performance is very good, BTW, so it probably predates Harnoncourt's experimental interlude"

7th September: "This recording from 1965 can be highly recommended. Granted there are violent deviations from Bach's score in the recitatives, but otherwise the performance is wonderful. There is nothing to suggest Harnoncourt's later avant-garde 'HIP' doctrines and none of that 'primitive sound' which so marred his subsequent work. The chorales are sung in exemplary manner, in full accord with the precepts of Mattheson, and the instrumental playing is admirable. The performance is full of drama and in my opinion a "must-have."

I was puzzled how the superb conductor of this work could degenerate into the 'Harnoncourt' of later years. Well now we all know the truth!

All credit to Gillesberger for brilliantly conducting this masterpiece. If only Harnoncourt had confined his activities to the cello and left Teldec with a "Gillesberger" brand!

Julian Gillesberger wrote (September 30, 2001):
My name is Julian Gillesberger.

Hans Gillesberger was my grandfather. The recording of the Passion was conducted by Gillesberger. Harnoncourt only played chello and gambe on this record.

The compact disc which told us that harnoncourt had the "gesamtleitung" was wrong. Teldec stopped selling this compact disc.

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (September 30, 2001):
[To Julian Gillesberger] GEE!!! That's what I call "going to the source"!!!!!

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (September 30, 2001):
[To Julian Gillesberger] As I posted here a long time ago, there was NEVER any question for me that this was the Gillesberger performance and that Harnoncourt had a subsidiary role. There is still no question that this is an ideal performance, still my favorite.

 

Johannes Passion

Charles Francis wrote:
I have a great Johannes-Passion from 1965 with van Egmond (Jesus), Equiluz, Villisech et al. along with the Vienna Boy's choir and Concentus Musicus Wien. It's conducted by Hans Gillesberger (according to his grandson), with Harnoncourt playing cello and gamba. The sad thing is that with the growth of the "Harnoncourt" brand, the recording was repackaged with him as conductor. Subsequently, Teldec withdrew the CD and so the world is denied a fine recording.

Scott Morrison wrote (April 19, 2003):
[To Chasrles Francis] Interesting information.
I picked my Teldec 8.35018 set and in fact one can read in the booklet, page 2:
- Wiener Sängerknaben - Chorus Viennensis
- Leitung: Hans Gillesberger
And below all other credits in big type:
- Gesamtleitung: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
On the next page, lost among a long listing of the instrumentists, NL reappears, now as cello and gamba player.

If it was Gillesberger who conducted, attributing that role to Harnoncourt was unfair to say the least.

 

Johannes-Passion

Toño Kolias wrote (May 2, 2004):
I am looking for the following "out of print"? Lp or CD: Bach´s Johannes-Passion, recorded in 1965 and conducted by Hans Gillesberger with Wiener Sängerknaben singing the solo part. Although I have read at Aryeh Oron website that Teldec stopped selling this CD, for what I have heard this CD deserve to give it a go!

..........or does anybody know of a good performance of this work sung by boys? Thanks.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 3, 2004):
[To Toño Kolias] Are you sure it's out of print? Look for that same performance with Harnoncourt now credited as the conductor: a shifting of the credit, going from the LPs to the CDs.

Charles Francis wrote (May 3, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] "Re-branding" is the term, I believe.

Someone claiming to be a Gillesberger family member complained some years ago on another list about the credit for this excellent recording being wrongly assigned. Perhaps Teldec dropped the recording because of such complaints or perhaps the Gillesberger version with boy singers was considered redundant because a true Harnoncourt performance with female-sopranos was released.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 26, 2004):
Toño Kolias wrote:
< ..........or does anybody know of a good performance of this work sung by boys? >
Wouldn't the Thomanerchor Leipzig recordings count? I especially like Ramin's recording over Rotzsch's. Not only does he retain the actual words used in tscore, but he also employs a Harpsichord in the Continuo part.

 

Iconomou Johannes-Video

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 22, 2006):
I have been reading Aryeh's interview with Panajotis (Panito) Iconomou. Is this video another Harnoncourt video different from the one listed below? If then this one is unpublished, then have persons seen or heard it by copies from the broadcast? I ask bc. it is claimed that his "Es ist vollbracht" is so amazing.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Panito-Interview-A.htm

Two members wrote about your performance of Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) as follows:
Douglas Neslund: “Please let him know that his unpublished 1985 television performance of the St. John Passion under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and specifically his alto aria "Es ist vollbracht" is by far the most touching and affecting performance ever - still bringing tears after all these years. His erstwhile teacher, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, told me that he too was in tears, sitting in the Graz (Austria) audience. I join many in wishing him a wonderful and successful career. His vocal roots are strong and deep, and should stand him in good stead throughout the years”
Boyd Pehrson: “I can only echo Douglas' suggestion. Rarely has a performance gripped my soul as did Panito Iconomou's solo 'Es is vollbracht' St John's Passion. Just let him know it is deeply appreciated, now he is old enough to understand the how and why his voice was used so perfectly.“
Is this the performance you mentioned previously? What memories do you have of that performance?

Yes, this is the St. John Passion I have mentioned earlier. Thank you very much, Douglas and Boyd, for your kind words. If I had to describe my life as a boy alto of the TK, I would choose this aria. It was definitely the climax of my career. One of only a handful of occasions I can recall, where everything felt right, with my performance, the other musicians and the reaction from the audience. And it is only for these few occasions that I have decided to become a singer again.

48
J.S. Bach: Johannes-Passion
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Tölzer Knabenchor / Concentus Musicus Wien
Tenor: Kurt Equiluz; Tenor: Thomas Moser; Bass: Robert Holl; Bass: Anton Scharinger; other soloists unknown
Unitel
Late 1980's ?
Video: / TT: 114:00
2nd recording of Johannes-Passion BWV 245 by N. Harnoncourt.
See: Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - conducted By Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 22, 2006):
Yoël L. Arbeitman asked:
"I have been reading Aryeh's interview with Panajotis (Panito) Iconomou. Is this video another Harnoncourt video different from the one listed below? If then this one is unpublished, then have persons seen or heard it by copies from the broadcast? I ask bc. it is claimed that his "Es ist vollbracht" is so amazing."
Yes. This is the same video. It was re-numbered and put at the right place.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV245-Rec5.htm [37]

DGG has recently re-issued in DVD form some important Bach album from Unitel vaults (Richter - SMP, SJP & MBM; Harnoncourt - XO). I hope that Harnoncourt's SJP from 1985 would get a similar treatment.

Panito Iconomou is a bass-baritone now. In 2000 he took part in Gardiner's BCP. The album in which he can be heard was recently released. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec4.htm [P-26]
IMO, he maintains a high level also with his mature voice: warm and rich, and sensitive expression.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (August 22, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< DGG has recently re-issued in DVD form some important Bach album from > Unitel vaults (Richter - SMP, SJP & MBM; Harnoncourt - XO). I hope that Harnoncourt's SJP from 1985 would get a similar treatment. >
When DGG bought Unitel catalogue, they told the it would be reissued in its integrity.

BTW this forthcoming Harnoncourt reissue features a video rendering of Cantata BWV 161: http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/DVD/DVWW-COMREQ.htm

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 22, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Panito Iconomou is a bass-baritone now. In 2000 he took part in Gardiner's BCP. The album in which he can be heard was recently released. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec4.htm [P-26]
IMO, he maintains a high level also with his mature voice: warm and rich, and sensitive expression. >
Thanks, I'll look for that one. I think his singing way back in 1984, as alto in Parrott's recording of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232), was very good too.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 22, 2006):
[To Aryeh Oron & Riccardo Nughes] Thank you both for the confirmation of the sameness of the "non-published" video with the Unitel video which had been dateless and anonymous as to the two boy altos. One mystery solved and some hope that it might appear in our lifetimes. I am one of those kids who never had VHS, never had Laser Disk, and began picture life with DVDs only about 3 or 4 years ago. My first purchase was the Unitel Bernstein Mahler set which was only available via the NYC Leonard Bernstein Society as expensive imports from Unitel Japan.

Fairly recently they all appeared on far fewer DVDs in a set from DGG and with bonuses like a 2hr rehearsal segment and even more. OK, I already have them in the Japanese edition. For a long time after I got them they were unavailable.

Let's indeed hope this one appears and I expect Riccardo will keep us informed as often.

I have for a very long time been fascinated with the boy soloists (esp. the alto who sang "Es ist vollbracht") in the now OOP Gillesberger J-P. And of course not only with him but with this whole performance. Now under the rules those boys are anonymous. If the now unveiled boy altos in this Harnoncourt can seriously offer something of parallel interest, that would be amazing. (I mean unveiled as to our listings here)

Finally superb boys are not the same as counter-tenors. They offer some insight into Bach's singing but I would not claim that only they do.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (August 24, 2006):
It's possible to see clips of this DVD on YouTube; e.g: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_QAoanXntw for the "Es ist volbracht" aria, then just use the research engine.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Riccardo Nughes] with that URL you don't need the search engine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_QAoanXntw
It is a direct link
I watched it three times a few days ago when someone sent it to me.
It is UNBELIEVABLE.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I suggested to use the search engine for other clips from that SJP or other videos someone could be interested in ^__^

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 24, 2006):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Beautiful! Who's playing the crucial viola da gamba solo on there? Is that Christophe Coin?

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (August 25, 2006):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Sorry for my abrupt response.
When I was sent the information about this clip, I was told "To view the videos, go to the website and put "Panito" into the search box; you will get his aria and links to the other two arias".

I found links to other boy singers, Zauberflöte and Schubert (I think) but not to more Johannes-Passion.
What does one put in for the SJP?
I don't know why there is so little Bach uploaded. In opera groups this tubular site is used all the time.
I myself have never looked before and I remain stunned by this one.
I have shared this Iconomou with several non-Bachian e-mates.
I want this performance to appear on DVD now!

 

Gillesberger/Harnoncourt SJP

Continue of discussion from: Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - conducted by Edward Higginbottom

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 2, 2006):
< er, because 1) Higginbottom is not junk; 2) every currently available recording has its faults; and 3) Gillesberger is not available, either at bargain or any other price, through commercial outlets. (correct me if I'm wrong there?) >
3) My CD copy here is Teldec 8.35018, dated 1987. It's of course credited to Harnoncourt on the front and spine, with Gillesberger only on the back. Apparently somebody has one used copy available here for 12 euros: http://www.amazon.fr/St-John-Passion-Bach/dp/B000009JV9

Anybody know, with Warner distribution out of business, is this back-catalog stuff ever going to come back?

 

The Gillesberger JP recording, more evidence

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 12, 2007):
I have, inspired by the newly available DVD which I fully accept as conducted by Harnoncourt, been looking at all the many differences between the original Telefunken lavish booklet and the booklet to the CD pressing where, as we all know, the name of Gillesberger has just about been effaced. In addition to the obvious facts that Harnoncourt is almost exclusively named as the violoncello/gamba player in the original booklet while Prof. Gillesberger in given on the title page as follows:
soloists listed,
WIENER SÄNGERKNABEN,
CHORUS VIENNENSIS,
CONCERTUS MUSICUS, WIEN,
(the above three in caps, boldface)

Instrumentalsolisten listed,
Dirigient: HANS GILLESBERGER
(the above one in caps, boldface),

there is a photo on p.23 labelled as follows:

Eine Schallplatten-Produktion in Originalbesetzung mit Originalinstrumenten.Die Instumental-Solisten des CONCENTUS MUSICUS WIEN, verstärkt durch Mitglieder des Amsterdamer LEONHARDT-CONSORT während der Aufnahmearbeit unter Leitung von Professor Hans Gillesberger, dem neuen künstlerischen Leiter der WIENER SÄNGERKNABEM, in der Nachfolge von Professor Ferdinard Grossmann.

Additionally there are other photos of Prof. Gillesberger rehearsing and almost none of Harnoncourt.

One of the six photos on p.26 is labelled as follows:
Professor Hans Gillesberger mit einem Knabensolisten während der Aufnahme. Rechts Nikolaus Harnoncourt, violoncello, der Leiter des CONCENTUS MUSICUS.

It is altogether possible and likely that the Knabensolist pictured with Prof. Gillesberger is either our alto or soprano soloist.

I ask understanding for my typing which presents difficulties and hope that, when Aryeh comes to enter this in the discussion of what we have labelled (unjustly in my opinion) as the Gillesberger/Harnoncourt recording, something it never was in its LP issue, we will correct typos.

Finally I look forward to listening, when I have my DVD to the audio only first to compare it to this one. One cannot judge from the internet but it is my distinct impression that the singers and the whole are superior in this 1965 recording.

I am not sure from the way things were avoided with the boy soloists in the Gillesberger whether we indeed have but a single alto soloist. In the first alto aria, the one sung by Immler on the DVD, the boy alto on Gillesberger's has such a dark timbre that it is amazing.

I am certain that there is no better.

The other aria has always been my gem of all recordings of anything and this is superb but there is a difference although it may well be the same singer. He was magical and too bad unnamed. Again I cannot judge the two altos on the DVD until I get my copy and avoid the fascinating viewing part.

Panito Iconomou doing "Es ist vollbracht": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_QAoanXntw

the other boy alto, Christian Immler doing "von den Stricken meiner Sünden": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni3_a8o8vks&mode=related&search=

 

Harnoncourt/Gillesberger BWV 245 SJP reissued

Riccardo Nughes wrote (February 11, 2008):
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_March08/2564696444.htm

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 12, 2008):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Good news, Riccardo.

All other recordings of this work should be thrown away. This is the single greatest recording of any Bach vocal work ever.Happily, when I ceased using my LPs six years ago, I found a used copy of this. I really don't know why I bother with any other Johannes-Passion.

Shelly wrote (February 12, 2008):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I can't open this -- would you please identify the recording --- Thank you.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 12, 2008):
[To Shelly} wrote: It's the first recording listed here: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV245-Gillesberger.htm
and you can scroll down and read about it for the next week:-),

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (February 12, 2008):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] Your statement sounds quite peremptory. I agree it's a great recording but...

Did you have the opportunity to listen to the recording conducted by Jos van Veldhoven (Netherland bach Society - Channel Classics) ?

I always have a doubt when I think I've got, at last, the definitive version of any of my favourite Bach works, because most of the time, a couple of years after, I discover a new version which always lightens a different side of my perception of the work.

That's why musical masterpieces are masterpieces: one can always find something new, thanks to a different interpretation.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 12, 2008):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] Not in this case Paul. In 1968 a guy in a specialty record store where I spent a lot of time but where I could not afford the prices (I never bought anything but the proprietor still spent a lot of time advising me on the kinds of things not easily found) told me that once I heard the Gillesberger, I would never ever ever listen to Richter again. He told me where I had to take a bus ride for about 1.5 hours to find the only copy around (it was out of print already). I made the bus trip. He also told me about the Jürgen Jürgens Monteverdi Vespro della beata Vergine. Well, after that I have bought and collected numerous recordings of both works.Of the Johannes-Passion nothing has come close to the Gillesberger.

Of course anyone may disagree.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 12, 2008):
< Of the Johannes-Passion nothing has come close to the Gillesberger. Of course anyone may disagree. >
Well, I'll respectfully disagree. I have that Gillesberger/Harnoncourt on both LP and CD, and it's fine...but there are five others here that I like better and listen to more: Slowik, Herreweghe, Parrott, Fasolis, and Cleobury. (Plus some others I don't like as well and don't mention.) I want to pick up the van Veldhoven someday.

I'll give the G/H another spin today to remind myself of it, but I don't remember it being that great such that "nothing else comes close". A lot has happened in Bach performance practices since 1968, especially in the department of playing period instruments.

In any event, it's nice to see the G/H back in print (coming in March), and as low as £8.50 at that MDT site. I remember paying more than double that, in both formats, and feeling it was worth it.

Martin Spaink wrote (February 12, 2008):
I agree with Brad that 1968 is a lomg time ago! Personally I was never too happy about the sounds that Concentus Musicus Wien coaxed from their period instruments, let alone the vocalists who, at least in growing numbers, seem to be doing their homework now. Luckily, so many good things have happened since the first recordings (the first will be the last..)

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 13, 2008):
< I'll give the G/H another spin today to remind myself of it, but I don't remember it being that great such that "nothing else comes close". A lot has happened in Bach performance practices since 1968, especially in the department of playing period instruments.
In any event, it's nice to see the G/H back in print (coming in March), and as low as £8.50 at that MDT site. I remember paying more than double tha, in both formats, and feeling it was worth it. >
OK, I listened to the whole thing today on a more than 100-mile drive. It was good to hear the whole St John Passion from start to finish. Again I'm glad to have this recording, especially as it's a historical document of their pioneering efforts: hearing what the combined Harnoncourt and Leonhardt ensembles did working together on a performance, before diving into their cantatas cycle.

Now, today's impression of it. The performance as a whole strikes me as very carefully prepared, straightforward and clean...and that's most of the problem, being both a virtue and a limitation. I found it more attractive than I remembered it from the last listen (a few years ago), but it still didn't grab me.

The choral discipline is awesome, but too much of the spark has been drilled out of the music; no spontaneity to go with the blend and balance. Most of the instrumental work sounds bland, generic, and cautious. The Harnoncourt/Leonhardt standard of inflection in their later work isn't in here yet. Sure, the recitatives are done by the all-star team of Leonhardt, Harnoncourt, and Equiluz...but beyond the surface attraction it's dull, too often lacking dramatic thrust. The vocal soloists are excellent, except for the boys in the first half hour where they're just getting all their notes and rhythms and pronunciation perfectly, but missing the expression. The un-named boy alto soloist in "Es ist vollbracht" was terrific in the first section and at the end, but the middle section seemed a little too laborious: punching all the notes into place accurately. Harnoncourt himself played the viola da gamba well.

The piece as a whole seemed to go on for more than two hours, while it's just a tad under that. Again the overall problem, in my opinion, is aimlessness next to the better-focused dramatic performances that some other performers have done later. Maybe part of the problem came from stitching it together from many different days; anybody know how many recording sessions there were, or how widely separated? (Obviously the choruses and the arias/recits were done in separate sessions: different organists, but only one credited organ...and it has a weak and mushy sound in its 8-foot flute.)

I don't mean all of that impression from today's listening to sound like merely faint praise, as it remains an excellent pioneering performance and I enjoyed it...but I didn't feel moved by it often enough. When I got home and put on random snippets from my other favorites (Slowik, Herreweghe, et al as I mentioned this morning), again the cautious blandness of the Harnoncourt/Gillesberger/Leonhardt performance stood out by comparison.

If Harnoncourt now gets primary credit for the three-way direction of the music (on the LPs it was dual-credited to him and Gillesberger), it's a problem of not focused-enough direction by his own later standards. And I have to credit Leonhardt for part of the direction, too, since he was the organist in arias and recits; so much of the catalytic task in this music falls to the excellence of the keyboard player and his improvisation, and keyboard players typically don't get enough credit for that. When it's done well, as here, it doesn't draw attention to itself with any problems.

One small engineering problem, listening to the 1987 CD issue: not nearly enough break between part 1 and part 2 on CD 1. The opening chorale of part 2 bursts in too early. Some of the other recordings put the CD break there, which works well. Another (Slowik's) inserts a minute of silence there during CD 1. Maybe the new reissue of this "Harnoncourt" 1968 performance has corrected that run-on problem. I also caught a couple of too-obvious splices during the opening chorus alone. A touch of re-editing with a modern digital studio might be able to fix that.

I'm not going to upgrade to the new budget edition. Anybody know if they're reducing the long booklet, which itself provides a good chunk of value in analyzing the music? That was always a good feature of the original Telefunkens on LP and CD, way before the Warner days: good extensive documentation...except for naming the boy soloists!

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 14, 2008):
Martin Spaink wrote:
< let alone the vocalists who, at least in growing numbers, seem to be doing their homework now. Luckily, so many good things have happened since the first recordings (the first will be the last..) >
I believe I understand you to be saying that there are singers of Bach today who have done their homework and thus sing the Johannes-Passion more interestingly or more movingly or something.

On the whole subject, I want to add, Lucky is the man who finds one recording of a work dear to him which totally moves him and totally satisfies his needs. In the case of the other Bach Passion, I cannot say that. We were recently discussing the Butt and that got me to listen to the tenor recitative where in the last performing version Bach added a Gamba to the b.c. (?) and from thereon to the alto aria "Erbarme dich, mein Gott". I listened to this section in the three Harnoncourt recordings and in the Leonhardt sequentially. Only Harnoncourt1 moved me as a whole in this section. Harnoncourt2 was fairly horrid to my ears. I refer above both to singers and to instrumentalists. Harnoncourt3 is simply a run of the mill modern recording with no interest for me. Leonhardt is fine except I do not respond to René Jacobs in this essential aria.

I would say that I have never been happy with any Matthäus-Passion recording in full. Oh, yes, excellent boy soli are a sine non qua for me in Bach.

In another non-Bach work vital to my life, Berlioz's Les Troyens, of the five DVDs and endless audio recordings I have, not one makes me happy.

There are a few excepts from old recordings of one aria here or there (very few of them) that show what could have been. Happy then for me that in the case of the Gillesberger, I am totally satisfied.

I do not care for most of the other recordings I have heard. Happily there is a large choice if one spends enough money to be able to listen to so many.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 14, 2008):
< On the whole subject, I want to add, Lucky is the man who finds one recording of a work dear to him which totally moves him and totally satisfies his needs. In the case of the other Bach Passion, I cannot say that. >
For me with the St Matthew, that desert island recording is the live aircheck (from Dutch radio) of van Veldhoven's production from the Lenten season 2006. They haven't recorded it commercially yet.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 14, 2008):
Into the Photos area of the BachRecordings list I have uploaded a scanned photo from the original LP issue of this recording. This is from the cover of the full-size booklet. The photo credit is to Kurt Theiner, who happens to be depicted in it too.

It is from the recording session of arioso #31, "Betrachte, mein Seel'". Max van Egmond is the singer. Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt are playing basso continuo. Eugen Dombois is playing lute. Alice Harnoncourt and Kurt Theiner are playing violas d'amore.

I notice the wide spatial separation between singer and instrumentalists, and the placement of microphones. I'm also amused that the musicians are dressed up in suits and ties to make a recording (which doesn't happen anymore); perhaps this photo was staged, although it looks as if they're performing?
http://launch.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/photos/view/607b?b=1&m=f&o=0

This afternoon I sent Max van Egmond a note about the forthcoming reissue of this performance on CD, and he was glad to hear the news. He said Telefunken/Teldec doesn't inform its artists (or pay royalties) when there are re-releases. He also said that he had been engaged to sing only the role of Jesus for this recording, but later they made the decision to have him sing this arioso [and one other aria] also.

I'll ask if he remembers why they dressed up.

J. Laurson wrote (F14, 2008):
< I'm also amused that the musicians are dressed up in suits and ties to make a recording (which doesn't happen anymore); >
I believe there was a time (on the continent, at any rate - not in Michigan, perhaps :-) ) when people actually dressed like that. (And when it wasn't considered "dressing up" to wear a clean shirt, a tie, and a jacket. (Harnoncourt is wearing a sweater, it seems... it all looks no more formal than I know from faint memory and family pictures depicting a casual gathering of friend.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 14, 2008):
[To J. Laurson] Yes, that's what Max van Egmond told me this morning in reply to my questions about the sessions. They wore coat/tie regularly for the sessions, and that photo wasn't staged. (I'm not surprised by the dress norm; it's just a generational thing, and 1968 was before my time. I'm doing rehearsals this week and a recording next week, and we're all just wearing casual knits. I'll put on the coat/tie for Sunday night's concert only.)

The recording was pieced together slowly over many, many days of work, doing all of each role at once whenever the musicians involved happened to be available. Arias took an average of an hour of recording time, each, unless there were brass players (well, not here in the SJP) making it take much longer to get clean takes.

Sometimes the singers performing "together" never actually met one another, recording on different days. He mentioned the example of recording the Pilate role in the St Matthew, where he never met the Jesus singer until many years after the publication of the recording.

I ran into this same type of thing in the early 90s, playing continuo for performances of the B minor Mass. The vocal soloists had already recorded the piece "together" with Radu a couple of years earlier, but they never met each other until the first rehearsals for our gig.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 14, 2008):
[To J. Laurson] One of my friends grew up in the Netherlands. She would be about sixty now, and when she was a young girl she told me that everyone dressed up to go to work, even if they had to change clothes when they arrived (say, for example a baker). I asked her what she meant, and she told me that street attire was a suit and tie and good shoes, and possibly a hat for men, and dresses and nice jackets or coat, etc. for the ladies. Apparently the fashion industry in Europe set the tone, in part, and she also mentioned that with everyone dressing up the class system was not immediately apparent as she found it to be in the US. Today in the US on casual Fridays people even wear jeans to work, and you cannot from this phenomena tell what their jobs might be. So it does not surprise me that this bit of historical 'dress' has shown up in the area of recording. Incidentally, this lady told me that everyone also carried brief cases or bags and their work clothing if it differed was brought to work in some carry-all that looked very stylish. Even when I was young people dressed up a great deal more than they do today, and everything had to match well in terms of color. Now and then I miss all the fashion fuss.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 15, 2008):
J. Laurson wrote, reply to unidentified [Brad Lehman]:
< I'm also amused that the musicians are dressed up in suits and ties to make a recording (which doesn't happen anymore); >
I believe there was a time (on the continent, at any rate - not in Michigan, perhaps :-) ) when people actually dressed like that. (And when it wasn't considered "dressing up" to wear a clean shirt, a tie, and a jacket.
__________
My first post to BCML was to add a recording to the discography. It was recorded in June of 1964, Christuskirche Mannheim (that would be on the referenced continent?:-), with a photo of one of the recording sessions (microphone visible) on the back cover. See BWV 106, Gottsche, for recording details.

Not a tie in sight. Neither ascot, cravat, scarf, or other formal neckwear. There are a couple jackets visible, but Gottsche himself is wearing sweater vest over short sleeves, all of which which suggest that the informality is not related solely to June temperatures. The shirts look clean enough, at least for the photo opportunity. The date and location indicate that informality is not stictly a generational or geographic (cultural) effect.

From the photo and reported dates, it appears that all performers were present for takes on two consecutive days for two cantatas.

 

Johannespassion [Toelzer Knabenchor]

Andreas Burghardt wrote (March 19, 2012):
Most of you will probably know the wonderful 1985 recording of the Johannespassion by the Tözer Knabenchor under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Graz. Here is a short extract of an other, not so well-known recording, that of 2001 in Baden-Baden under maestro Michael Gielen. Well, it is a performance with conventional instruments, and for my taste the choir is a bit too large, but interesting nevertheless. The choir "Lasset und den nicht zerteilen" is one of the beautiful, but difficult to sing Turba-choirs: The soldiers are tossing the dice who would get the cloth of Jesus. Sorry for the not so good video quality ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnbnV2FkCmw

"Lasset uns ihn nicht zerteilen"
Johann Sebastian Bach: Johannes-Passion, BWV 245

Live recording at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, April 2001

Christoph Pregadien (Tenor)
Tölzer Knabenchor
SWR Sinfonierorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Leitung: Michael Gielen

Text: Lasset und den nicht zerteilen, sondern darum losen, wes er sein soll.

The choir for the upcoming performances in Meran and Brixen will be with a rather small one and of course the orchestra L'arte del Mondo will play on historic instruments.

Andreas Burghardt wrote (April 2, 2012):
Just a quick notice about the Johannespassion in Meran yesterday:

it was a wonderful concert in the completely packed St. Nikolaus church.
The choir was small, only 16 boys and 10 men. The boy soloists were
Leopold (soprano) and Gabriel (alto). The adult soloist and the
orchestra were excellent, too. At the end there were standing ovations.

Tonight' s concert in Brixen will be recorded by Italian radio RAI.

Best wishes from Meran

Andreas Burghardt wrote (April 2, 2012):
A review about the performance of the Johannespassion in Meran was published in the South Tyrolian newspaper 'Dolomiten' (blue text):

... In tiefer Verinnerlichung endet das Geschehen in dem eingängigen Trauerchor "Ruht wohl ihr heiligen Gebeine" und dem große Zuversicht ausstrahlenden Choral "Ach Herr lass dein lieb Engelein". Ausführende waren der "Tölzer Knabenchor', das Ensemble
"L'arte del mondo", dem seit 2004 in seiner historische Aufführungspraxis der Klangreichtum alter Instrumente ein zentrales Anliegen ist.


In my opinion an orchestra, playing on historical instruments is as important as the use of a boy's choir for any convincing performance of a Bach passion. However, this time "L'arte del mondo" had a some problems, especially at the entrances at certain pieces.

Dem Wort verpflichtet waren die Gesangssolisten, allen voran der amerikanische Tenor Thomas Michael Allen als wortmächtiger Evangelist. Seine glaubwürdige Gestaltung der Rolle zeichnete sich durch sichere Technik, klare Diktion und natürliche Dramatik aus. Zur Seite standen ihm als Jesus und Pilatus der Bass Klaus Häger und der Bariton Konrad Jarnot, beide klangschön und souverän in Stimme, Ausdruck und Gestaltung, sowohl in den Rezitativen wie den anspruchsvollen Arien. Die betrachtenden Sopran- und Alt-Arien wurden von zwei Mitgliedern des Tölzer Knabenchors einfühlsam und in erstaunlicher Technik interpretiert, man denke an das schwierige "Es ist vollbracht"!

Yes, the adult soloists were quite good and Leopold and Gabriel were very convincing. Leopold used beautiful ornamentations in his aria "Ich folge dir gleichfalls" and Gabriel was quite strong in the aria "Es ist vollbracht".

Dazu wob das aus erfahrenen Instrumentalisten geformte Ensemble auf alten Instrumenten einen immer wieder neu überrascheKlangteppich. Im Ganzen entstand in der Pfarrkirche zum Hl. Nikolaus eine vom überaus genau und temporeich
dirigierenden Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden großartige musikalische Erzählung, in der vor allem der Chor als singend-sinnende Gemeinde, als mithandelnde, "Kreuzige ihn" rufende Menge präzise und mehrschichtig ohne Zweifel die Hauptrolle spielte. ...

The beauty of the choir in some passages can't be put into words.

The performance in Brixen cathedral also went very well. The choir was even smaller than in Meran (only 14 boys and 10 men). At the final choral "Ach Herr, laß dein lieb' Engelein" there was a nice gesture of Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden: One verse of this choral was sung not by the entire choir, but by a solo-quartet. And at the Brixen peformance Daniel K. joined the soloists in this verse. Perhaps at this moment his soprano voices was heard for a very last time.

Several members of this group were present in Meran or in Brixen. It was very nice to see you and I would be interested in your impressions, too.

Douglas Pueri wrote (April 4, 2012):
[To Andreas Burghardt ] Oh, how I wish I could have attended these wonderful performances. Instead, I was obliged to review a performance of the same Passion by the Los Angeles Master Chorale that was professional (using 12 different soloists from the Chorus, including, unfortunately, the Evangelist who was weak of voice and of German). And then it was my obligation to write something - not a good assignment, when in my mind, all I could hear were the two Tölzer performances!

Gareth Hendrixon wrote (April 4, 2012):
[To Douglas Pueri] The LAMC may get a better review than they deserve;}

Gareth Hendrixon wrote (April 4, 2012):
[To Andreas Burghardt ] Thank you, Andreas. Greatly appreciated.

Barbel wrote (April 4, 2012):
[To Gareth Hendrixon] ] Perhaps better than a review? My audio file from the last chorals, recorded in Brixen last Monday. Sorry, my audio isn't very good, so we've to wait till Radio RAI will broadcast the Passion one day: http://db.tt/fe7cl4gM

Andreas mentioned it before, the most impressive for me was the setting with only 14 boys and ten men. The choir and Leopold were outstanding, the same with the adult soloists. Respect!

It was very nice to meet a lot of you. Sunny days in Alto Adige. Thank you!

Therese wrote (April 4, 2012):
[To Barbel] Thank you so much!
Happy Easter.
Or as we say in Sweden
Glad Påsk.

 

Johannes-Passion BWV 245: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Sung in English | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
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 - F. Brüggen | BWV 245 - S. Cleobury | BWV 245 - P. Dombrecht | BWV 245 - D, Fasolis | BWV 245 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 245 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 245 - N. Harnoncourt-H. Gillesberger | BWV 245 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 245 - E. Higginbottom | BWV 245 - E. Jochum | BWV 245 - E. Kleiber | BWV 245 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 245 - H. Max | BWV 245 - P. McCreesh | BWV 245 - H. Münch | BWV 245 - P. Neumann | BWV 245 - A. Parrott | BWV 245 - P. Pickett | BWV 245 - K. Richter | BWV 245 - H. Rilling | BWV 245 - P. Schreier | BWV 245 - R. Shaw | BWV 245 - K. Slowik | BWV 245 - M. Suzuki | BWV 245 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
Saint John Passion, BWV 245 [T.N. Towe] | The Passion of Saint John, BWV 245 [M. Steinberg] | St. John Passion [A. Wong & N. Proctor] | The St. John Passion on stage [U. Golomb] | Literary Origins of Bach’s St. John Passion: 1704-1717 [W. Hoffman] | Bach’s Passion Pursuit [W. Hoffman]

Hans Gillesberger: Short Biography | Wiener Sängerknaben | Chorus Viennensis | Recordings of Bocal Works | General Discussions | BWV 245 - N. Harnoncourt & H. Gillesberger

Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Short Biography | Concentus Musicus Wien
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Discussions of Vocal Recordings:
Harnoncourt - Glorious Bach! (DVD) | Motets - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 232 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 245 - N. Harnoncourt-H. Gillesberger | BWV 248 - N. Harnoncourt
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Brandeburg Concertos - N. Harnoncourt
Table of recordings by BWV Number

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: ýAugust 20, 2012 ý16:39:45