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Johannes-Passion BWV 245
Conducted by Andrew Parrott

V-2

Bach: St. John Passion

 

Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - 1749 version

Andrew Parrott

Taverner Consort & Players

Tenor [Evangelist, Arias]: Rogers Covey-Crump; Bass [Jesus, Arias]: David Thomas; Soprano [Aria]: Tessa Bonner; Boy Soprano [Ancilla]: Christian Fliegner; Soprano [Arias]: Emily van Evera; Boy Alto: Christian Günther; Alto [Arias]: Caroline Trevor; Tenor [Servus II]: Nicholas Robertson; Tenor [Servus I]: Andrew Tusa; Bass [Pilatus]: Stephen Charlesworth; Bass [Petrus]: Simon Grant

Virgin Veritas

Apr 1990

2-CD / TT: 109:22

Recorded at Studio 1, Abbey Road, London, England.
Buy this album at:
2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.com | Amazon.com
Box Set: Amazon.com

Andrew Parrott's St. John Passion

Tomek wrote (June 10, 2003):
I have a problem, I'm in the group from one day at the moment and I don't see any trace of a discution about Andrew Parrott's recording of St.John Passion. Parsonally I think that it isn't a good recording, but meny find it very interesting...........

Boyd Pehrson wrote (June 10, 2003):
[To Tomek] Hi, Have you tried searching the archive at the group website?: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bach_Cantatas
You may find some interesting comments in the archives. Also try the group Links area, which will lead you to sites with more comments.

You can try the main Bach Cantata Mailing List group website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas

If you have some comments you'd like to share, please do, and maybe we can start another discussion on the topic. Mr. Parrott's use of boys' voices, especially in the alto part, are worthy of a good discussion.

Tomek wrote (June 10, 2003):
[To Boyd Pehrson] Actually I tried and I didn't find a general discution about Anrew Parrot's recording of St.John Passion in the archives. As said, I personally don't like this recording, but I heard some very positive opinions about it. We may discuss the problem, what do I overlook?

Tomek wrote (June 10, 2003):
I have a problem, I have often heard very good opinions about the classical recording of Bach's St.John Passion by Anrew Parrott. One day I bought it and I thought I would hear something special.......... and.......... I was profoundly dissapointed. Parrott's recording is flat and lacks in my point of view of any passion. Evangelist's expression is homogenenous and his timbre isn't very tempting, soloist in the arias are at least common, Christ lacks of any dignity. I said on the beggining that I have a problem. Someone could say: what's the problem, he just don't like this recording, taste isn't a subject to dispute about. Right, but I wan't to hear opinion from a person who loves Parrott's passion, why, what's this "something" in that recording that I don't hear??

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 10, 2003):
[To Tomek] My two cents: I agree that Parrot's SJP is not at the top of his otherwise excellent Bach's interpretations. I also agree that overall, his version does not rank very highly among my collection of SJP's, and most definitely the crucial Evangelist role is not among the best.

Having said that, I did find this performance to be interesting, with many fine aspects. From memory I can point out to Tessa Bonner's incredibly beautiful and ethereal "Zerfliesse, mein herze" - one of the very best in my book.

Peter Bright wrote (June 10, 2003):
[To Ehud Shiloni] I tend to find a lot of Parrott's work uninvolving and weak (his Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) was another poor one for me). His B minor Mass (BWV 232) is the one exception - my favourite HIP version. His 'Hearts solace' disc of funeral motets and other pieces was also relatively good. Having said this, my overall favourite of the B minor probably still belongs to Richter's studio version on Archiv.

Tomek wrote (June 10, 2003):
Talking about "Zerfliesse, mein Herze", it's the aria that most intrigue me in the John Passion. Tessa Bonner sings it well, but she (and The Taverner Players) doesn't bring out the essence of the piece: the flowing of the music. "Zerfliesse, mein Herze" - "Disolve, my heart, in floods of tears". Bonner's voice is a little bit to stiff and should be more gentle, the same goes to the instrumentalists. The use of harpsicord, rare in Bach Pasions recording practice, also doesn't do any good. I would consider the realy flowing-in-tears-perfomance first recording by Herreweghe with Barbara Schlick. Notice especially how 2 flutes, 2 oboes da caccia and a bassoon melt together, light reverberation enhance that feeling. It's a very expressive rendition, but in a specific "herreweghian" type.

And a one more problem, I have a cheep virgin x2 edition of St. John Passion. The modest booklet of CD doesn't say a word about differences from other common recordings I know in the text of few arias.... where do they come from?

Pete Blue wrote (June 10, 2003):
[To Tomek] I feel you can't do better in "Zerfliesse, mein Herze" than the gorgeous voice and wonderfully expressive phrasing of Greta De Reyghere on CD 2, Track 42 of the incomparably dramatic SJP conducted by Paul Dombrecht (now available cheap in North America from Berkshire; to be re-released in Europe next year on the Belgian label Passacaille). It has that essential seat-of-the-pants live performance feel.

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 11, 2003):
[To Pete Blue] Better late than never: THANK YOU, for your "discovery" of the Dombrecht SJP!!

I received my copy early this year, and I am very pleased and happy with this exciting version. It has many good qualities, but first and foremost is the domination of Ian Honeyman as a dramatic Evangelist like no other. I've found myself already several times putting this CD on just to listen to his recitative "Da uberantwortete er ihn" which ends with a unique, heart piercing, spine chilling "GOLGOTHA". Makes me actually shudder every time I hear it.

Going back to "Zerfliesse" and Tessa Bonner, I listened to this one again this morning. I don’t know much about the craft of singing, but I stand by my observation that Bonner's performance here is a standout. Her voice quality and her intonation appear to me as very close to that of a high quality boy soprano. The clear, innocent delivery conveys the sense of tragedy and sorrow as well as or better than most emotionally "loaded", ripe-sounding soprano singers.

I will try to listen again to De Reyghere singing of this aria - I do not clearly remember her performance, but - granted - this piece does tend to bring out the best from most soprano singers.

One last point about Parrot's SJP and the use of a Harpsichord as a continuo instrument: Could it be that this is the 1749 version? I recall that Suzuki used a harpsichord as well for his 1749 version. Does anyone know if such an instrument was specified by Bach for that performance?

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 12, 2003):
< I will try to listen again to De Reyghere singing of this aria - I do not clearly remember her performance, but - granted - this piece does tend to bring out the best from most soprano singers. >
OK - I heard De Reyghere' version again last night. It IS an exquisite performance.

 

A Parrott and a pair of Gardiners

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (July 11, 2003):
Well, the day of getting my wisdom teeth pulled, I finally got my Dover mini-score of the SJP from Amazon.ca (after a horrendous delay!), and took a more critical, attentive and complete spin through my on;y recording, the Andrew Parrot one from thecrazy-label's (Virgin) Black-Box budget set. I know it's a bit old, hence has probably been discussed to death, and from what I can gather quite negatively reviewed.

So then what am I missing? I found the performance as engaging and accesible as the work itself-very few arias, and most of them in the much more melodious Italian style than the more subdued and unengaging (imo) German style. Heck, even notes inegales abound in "Ach mein sinn"! I wasn't bored one bit, and was surprised how fast the work seemed to go by!

I also recieved in the same shipment the mini-score for Verdi's Requiem, of which I have the superb Gardiner recording.

This last paragraph is merely a segway into a more relevant discussion of another Gardiner recording, one that was an object of a discussion I brought up around Christmas time: that is, the Christmas Oratorio. Being JEG, of course the more extroverted parts of the work are executed to precision, but the more introverted mvmts are also very sublimely done, and since I could never find the hailed Otto recording, this one is definitely a worthy substitute.

All I need now is the score for this work, and to hold on till my mouth heals itself!

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 11, 2003):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote:
< Well, the day of getting my wisdom teeth pulled,(...) the Christmas Oratorio. Being JEG, of course the more extroverted parts of the work are executed to precision, but the more introverted mvmts are also very sublimely done, and since I could never find the hailed Otto recording, this one is definitely a worthy substitute. >
http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com had the Otto set for $3.98 a few months ago; that's where I got mine. The Christophers recording, too, for not much more than that. Good luck! Looks as if the Christophers is still there.

< All I need now is the score for this work, and to hold on till my mouth heals itself! >
The Dover (Bach-Gesellschaft) is still readily available, I believe....

When they took out my wisdom teeth recently, I took along the Alfred Deller recording of cantatas BWV 170 & BWV 54 for comfort. Helped me relax in the car, anyway. That's a landmark CD, both because it's an excellent performance and because [according to the booklet note] it's the first recording that Leonhardt and Harnoncourt made (of any music) using period instruments, 1954.

p.s. Get yourself a couple of pudding snack packs. :)

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (July 11, 2003):
< http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com had the Otto set for $3.98 a few months ago; that's where I got mine. The Christophers recording, too, for not much more than that. Good luck! Looks as if the Christophers is still there. >
W
ell, as my adventures with Amazon.ca has proven, I don't usually like to buy things off the net, and the American conversion, S/H and all that stuff will just be a nuissance, but thanks anyway-I'll still take a look!

< The Dover (Bach-Gesellschaft) is still readily available, I believe.... >
Dad's gonna take me downtown to a great store that's got loads of scores-gonna get it there-I think it's only available in full size, but I'm gonna check if it's available in mini-score-better suits my purposes (taking it to school in September, just following along-not gonna conduct it till I finish at least my BMus!)

< When they took out my wisdom teeth recently, I took along the Alfred Deller recording of cantatas BWV 170 & BWV 54 for comfort. Helped me relax in the car, anyway. That's a landmark CD, both because it's an excellent performance and because [according to the booklet note] it's the first recording that Leonhardt and Harnoncourt made (of any music) using period instruments, 1954. >
That's what I got the ChrO for!

< p.s. Get yourself a couple of pudding snack packs. :) >
Mom's got it covered!

Thanks Brad (not sarcastic)

 

Parrott's SJP in Israel

Uri Golomb wrote (March 13, 2009):
This Wednesday, I attended a performance of the Johannes Passion in Tel Aviv, with Andrew Parrott conducting the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra. The concertists (soloists who also took part in the choruses) were Emily Van Evera, Noa Frenkel, Marc Molomot and Christian Immler; the ripienists were Ayala Sicron, Avital Dery, David Nortman and Assif Am-David. (Normally, ripienists only sing in choruses, doubling the concertists. Here, they did have some independent parts, doing some of the characters in the dialogues - for instance, in dialogues between Christus and Pilatus, the bass-concertist sang Christus, the bass-ripienists did Pilatus). The concertists sang from the front of the stage, standing in front of the right edge of the orchestra; the ripienists were diagonally opposed, singing from left rear.

I will not get into the whole debate on Bach's vocal forces, except to say that I find the historical case for using these forces entirely convincing: the evidence does suggest that this is what Bach had in mind for his music. In the case of the Johannes-Passion, it is evident that he used ripienists rather more extensively than his usual habit: they sing throughout all choruses and chorales, whereas in other works Bach makes them double only selected phrases.

Whether a performance works or not depends, of course, on other factors as well. On the whole, I enjoyed this performance very much, though not unreservedly. The caveats were mostly on technical matters: too many instances of shaky intonation, ragged orchestral sounds, and lack of co-ordination between different parts of the ensemble. Molomot seems to have had an off-day: his singing of the Evangelist was mostly quite stylish and eloquent (if, at times, a bit too understated for my taste) - but he "fluffed" the odd phrase (esp. the melisma describing Peter's weeping, and the coloratura passage describing the flogging of Jesus), and missed whole bars in one of his arias. I suspect that, on another day, he would have given a much better reading of his role.

Emily Van Evera was pleasingly musical, as one might expect. Noa Frenkel had a strong presence, especially in her second aria ("Es ist vollbracht" - generally regarded as one of the high points of the SJP), which was absolutely superb. I was a bit surprised to hear her in this context - Andrew Parrott usually casts lighter-voiced altos in Bach's music - but she combined very well into the choruses. But the strongest vocal link was Christian Immler, whose strong (yet never overpowering) vocal presence and natural eloquence were superb, both in his singing of Christus and in his arias (his "Eilt" started a bit weak, but gathered strength and intensity as it proceeded).

The joint singing of concertists and ripienists was also highly convincing. One of the challenges facing a one-per-part performance is that the singers must combine two different talents: standing out as soloists, and combining convincingly into a four-part consort in the choruses. When ripienists are added, the sound comes closer to a full-chorus - except that here, they formed a separate group, standing on the other side of the orchestra (according to Parrott's research, this was the standard practice in Germany, including in Bach's churches). From where I was sitting, that meant that you could sometimes distinguish individual vocal timbres even when the two groups were singing together - to my ears,this was actually an advantage, though other listeners would probably have preferred a more homogenous sound. There were hardly any problems in coordination between the two groups; ensemble difficulties arose within the orchestra, and between orchestra and singers, but not between the two vocal groups.

Parrott has made a very satisfying recording of this passion
(http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV245-Parrott.htm) - technically, on a superior level to this live concert. I know many of the members of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (until recently, Israel's only period-instrument orchestra), and I believe that individually they are capable of more than I've heard in this concert; but it seems that they do not have enough experience of working together as a group, and it showed.

Whatever my reservations, I was intensely moved by this performance. As in Parrott's recording, I had almost throughout the sense that the performers understand what the text is about, and what Bach's interpretation of it is, whether in tone-painting or in comprehending the emotional significance - and communicate their understanding with understated, fluent eloquence.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 13, 2009):
Uri Golomb wrote:
>Whether a performance works or not depends, of course, on other factors as well. On the whole, I enjoyed this performance very much, though not unreservedly. The caveats were mostly on technical matters: too many instances of shaky intonation, ragged orchestral sounds, and lack of co-ordination between different parts of the ensemble. Molomot seems to have had an off-day: his singing of the Evangelist was mostly quite stylish and eloquent (if, at times, a bit too understated for my taste) - but he "fluffed" the odd phrase (esp. the melisma describing Peter's weeping, and the coloratura passage describing the flogging of Jesus), and missed whole bars in one of his arias. I suspect that, on another day, he would have given a much better reading of his role.<
One (me, actually) can easily imagine exactly the same comments being written about one of Bachs (quite rare, in fact!) original performances. Could that qualify as authenticity? Oh, you critics!

Reports of live performances are one (but only one) of the great joys of participating in BCW chat, for me. I can also dig the squabbles. So be it.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 13, 2009):
Uri Golomb wrote:
> Whatever my reservations, I was intensely moved by this performance. <
Uri, I would be interested in your impressions of Israeli music audiences to the controversial aspects of the libretto of the SLP. Has it always been acceptable repertoire in Israel?

I don't want to start a debate on the list, so feel free to decline comment.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 13, 2009):
Parrott's JSP in Israel [was: Parotts ...]

<If only I had not said that so quickly, life would be different.> Onanymoses.
Is there anything so frustrating as noticing the typo, just while your (ones?) finger has not even left send? Perhaps analogous to a *wrong note* for a keyboard player? But in that case, it is transitory, one can hope no one noticed, or at least they will be polite enough not to mention (how does a keyboard player distinguish?)

Andrew Parrott has two rs (not a pirate joke) and two ts, the pirates bird is a parrot, and parott is a new invention, awaiting a punster. I will fill the gap (manana), unless someone else gets there first.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 16, 2009):
Douglas Cowling asked:
"I would be interested in your impressions of Israeli music audiences to the controversial aspects of the libretto of the SLP. Has it always been acceptable repertoire in Israel?"
On the question itself: These days, most classical music listeners in Israel accept Bach's Passions without problems; they might note the problematic aspects in the text, and it makes for some lively interval and post-concert conversation, but it doesn't stop people from listening to this music or enjoying it.

This was not always the case, however. In the early decades of the State of Israel (1950s-1960s), I understand that there was a general avoidance of any German texts - even Beethoven's Ode to Joy was often sung in English or Hebrew - and of Christian texts. There were even demonstrations during a Tel Aviv performance of Handel's Messiah, which is mostly drawn from the Jewish Bible. (this concert was connected with the Abu-Gosh Festival, which Aryeh Oron, among many others, took part in, and devoted a website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/AG/AG.htm). All this was before my time (I was born in 1972), but I understand that performances of Bach's passions - and indeed any Christian-inspired works - were relatively rare in those days, though recordings of such works were certainly sold in record shops and broadcast on the radio.

On a more general note, there is a certain difficulty in describing the SJP libretto as anti-Jewish (the term "anti-semitism" did not exist in Bach's lifetime). As far as I can tell, the only anti-Judaic elements in the SJP libretto are drawn directly from the New Testament - there is nothing specifically anti-Judaic in the reflective arias, choruses and chorales. In this, Bach's passions differ from several earlier and contemporaneous works - including both Lutheran passions and Catholic oratorios on the passion story - which enhance the anti-Judaic commentary and characterisation beyond the scriptural narrative. It is true, however, that Bach's setting of the 'turba' choruses intensifies the violent depiction of the Jews already inherent in the gospel narrative itself.

Personally, I do feel a bit of a cringe in some specific moments - the Jews' smug "wir haben ein gesetz", their cries of "kreuzige" in both passions, or Pilatus's "bin ich ein Jude?"; but I understand these as part of Bach's general belief-system, to be understood within the spirit of the time. The cringes are momentary, and do not stop me from listening to these works or being moved by them. I think this attitude is shared by most listeners in Israel (those who hear this music, that is). But there are other Israeli members on this list - including, as I mentioned, our moderator - so their impressions will be welcome too.

John Pike wrote (March 16, 2009):
Now mainly OT [was: Parrott's SJP in Israel]

Douglas Cowling asked:
"I would be interested in your impressions of Israeli music audiences to the controversial aspects of the libretto of the SLP. Has it always been acceptable repertoire in Israel?"
and Uri replied:
< On the question itself: These days, most classical music listeners in Israel accept Bach's Passions without problems; they might note the problematic aspects in the text, and it makes for some lively interval and post-concert conversation, but it doesn't stop people from listening to this music or enjoying it.
But there are other Israeli members on this list - including, as I mentioned, our moderator - so their impressions will be welcome too. >
I wonder if I could make a few comment here. I am not a Jew but feel I would like to say a few things. The first is that oft mentioned, but easily forgotten, fact that Jesus himself was a Jew.

Second, I have never really understood why there is still so much sensitivity about the Biblical narrative; a whole race is obviously not guilty because of the actions of a few two thousand years ago, and there are surely only relatively few perverted minds today who think otherwise. As I have said on this list before there is no reason why Jews today should feel any more guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus, or sensitivity to the Biblical text, than modern day Germans should for the most abominable atrocities of the Holocaust. I don't think Bach's extraordinary (even by his own standards) Passion music should be seen as anything more than a setting to music of a Biblical narrative, together with commentaries on that narrative and, as Uri remarks, the only things in the Passions that might make one cringe are the Biblical texts themselves.

When one wonders around Berlin today is possible to see little stones in the pavement raised above the level of the pavement, known as "Stolper Steine", or tripping stones. They are placed outside the houses of Jews who left their houses on the way to the gas chambers or other ghastly deaths, there to remind pedestrians of this terrible past and to act as a memorial to those departed. It is easily forgotten that Germany itself had its own resistance movement during the war and was, in a very real sense, itself liberated by the allied forces. Thousands of Germans paid the ultimate price for their resistance to Hitler's dictatorship. I often think of Sophie and Hans Scholl and other members of the White Rose resistance movement who were guillotined in Stradelheim Prison, Munich, for distributing anti-Nazi propaganda, and this movement was Nationwide. You find good and bad people in every country and the world is a far poorer place for the Holocaust and the elimination of some of the greatest minds the world has ever known.

When Mel Gibson produced his film "The Passion of the Christ", there was a lot of controversy around his decision to include the text "His blood be on us and his children". However, a lesser known fact is that at the moment of crucifixion, the hands of the person holding the nails were those of Mel Gibson himself. The point he was making, as a Christian himself, is that he and all mankind are guilty in Christ's death.

Christians believe that Christ died to pay the price for everyone else's sin and that his death was a fulfilling of prophecy. If Jesus had been born in what is now England, it would have been English people who were responsible for Christ's death. In God's view it was necessary for Christ to die to pay the price that belongs to us all, and to fulfill the prophecies found throughout the Old Testament, many of them written many centuries before the birth of Jesus.

William Hoffman wrote (March 19, 2009):
SJP-Jews and Bach's Passions

The definitive text, 10 years old, is Michael Marissen's <Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism, and Bach's St. John Passion: With an annotated, literal translation of the libretto>, as well as his 2008 OUP follow-up textual sources: <Bach's Oratorios: The Parallel German' English Texts with Annotations>. A quick comparison of the SJP texts shows the new edition has some word changes, i.e. in the opening chorus -- "Niederigkeit" was "abasement," now it's "humiliation" -- with a new, scholarly footnote annotation citing Acts 8:33, Luther's reference, quoting Isaiah 53, as well as a secondary reference to Luther's rendering of Luke 1:48 (Magnificat), "Jesus is born to a mother whose lowliness is well-regarded;" see also Phillip. 2:6-7.

Two fugitive thoughts:

1. There is much information to absorb. In my current annotated bibliographical study of the genesis of the SMP, the application, culmination, of Bach's five Passion phases, I am spending much time reviewing challenging articles. These include Chafe on planning and tonal organization, Melamed on the evolution of the dramatic dialogues, Rifkin and Thomas Braatz on related musical sources, and now Marissen on biblical and poetic textual sources.

2. As to the Jewish attitudes today in Israel, I think they are complex and illuminating, and this applies world-wide. For I think that for Jews to rely on Israeli's pronouncements and practices can be as limiting as Catholics relying on the Vatican to speak for them in all matters.

Let me offer a practical, current example: Last week, conductor David Felberg led Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with a community orchestra of students and long-time residents and a church chorus at the Albuquerque Journal Concert Hall in the Roy Disney Performing Arts Center at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. At the end of the opening chorus, "und der Cherub steht vor Gott," we held the final F-Major chord fermata on "Gott" for five seconds, fortissimo, at David's direction. The overflow audience burst into spontaneous, sustained applause! Later is the phrase "Ihr, stuertz nieder" -- "before him kneel (bow) down." Just three months ago the University of New Mexico Symphony and community UNM Chorus had performed Beethoven's Missa solemnis. More than 30 years ago the community experienced a fully-staged Bernstein Mass and Mahler's Eighth Symphony. And more than 60 years ago, the world premiere of Schoenberg's "Survivor From Warsaw."

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 19, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
>2. As to the Jewish attitudes today in Israel, I think they are complex and illuminating, and this applies world-wide. For I think that for Jews to rely on Israeli's pronouncements and practices can be as limiting as Catholics relying on the Vatican to speak for them in all matters.<
Indeed, IMO, the most ecumenical, up-to-date, thinking is to view Judaic-Christian-Islam spirituality as a continuity, groping its way toward monotheism. Apologies if that steps on a spiritual toe or two, amongst the list. That Christian compromise re the unity of the trinity, the mystery, still gives me trouble, (theo)logically.

The spiritual continuity has of course been disrupted, nearly continuously, by the warrior mentality inherited from our human tribal origins, or from Adams frailty in the face of Satans (via Eve) temptation. Take your pick, female opinions especially invited! The predominant theology in the historical record, at any given time and place, has been more the result of the success of the warriors than the logic of the theology.

In that vein, the blame the Jews endured for nearly two millenia, from a Christian perspective, was more the result of the loss of Jerusalem in 70 CE than any actual history of the crucifixion of Jesus. In 70 CE, the Jesus cult was still a splinter Judaic sect, to use familiar rather than scholarly jargon.

The attitudes in Bachs texts, toward Jews, Turks, and Papists, were specifically conditioned by his time and place, 18th C. Leipzig. Three hundred years since then is not a long time in the history of mankind, nor even in the much shorter history of Chritianity. However, the advances in the mechanics of warfare, and of scientific knowledge, over that three hundred years place Bach in an entirely different universe than we inhabit, in year 09 CEC.

I genuinely appreciate the research Will undertakes and shares with us. I hope my commentary is taken in the spirit of a grad seminar participant (informal) rather than a gadfly. OK, perhaps a bit of both, plus a touch of the fugitive.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 20, 2009):
William Hofman wrote:
"As to the Jewish attitudes today in Israel, I think they are complex and illuminating, and this applies world-wide. For I think that for Jews to rely on Israeli's pronouncements and practices can be as limiting as Catholics relying on the Vatican to speak for them in all matters. "
Except, of course, that Jewish opinions in Israel are far more diverse than Catholic opinions in the Vatican. The Vatican is the official seat of the church, so I assume it tends to follow a specific party line; Israel is home to a large and very diverse Jewish community, many of whom (myself included) define themselves as Jewish in terms of nationality and culture, rather than religious belief. Indeed, the majority of Jews in Israel used to be secular; these days, I'm not sure that's true - and, of course, it depends in large part on where you draw the line between "religious" and "secular". Also, among the secular and religious alike (however defined), attitudes tend to vary.

As far as the Passions are concerned, I suppose one difference is environmental. By this I mean that people living in Europe - Jews, Christians, etc. - are more likely to encounter the Passions as specifically Easter-related. Of course, Bach's passions do get performed at other times of the year, but there seems to be a concentration of such performances around Easter time (at least in England, where I had lived for several years; I know the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam has annual performances; and I assume that this is even more noticeabin Germany, esp. in the Lutheran areas). This intensifies the association of the Passions with the Christian liturgy, even for those who Bach lovers who don't attend church or (as in the case of Jews) are not even nominally Christian.

In Israel, the classical music radio channel does broadcast the Bach passions around Easter time, but that's about it - otherwise, performances and broadcasts tend to be planned with no reference to dates in the Christian calendar. More importantly still, perhaps, our cultural environment does not contain as many Christian references as in Europe. I'm too tired right now to analyze the potential significance of all this, but I'm sure it does have an effect on how we view these things.

Perhaps I'll have something more coherent to contribute over the weekend.

 

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]

Andrew Parrott: Short Biography | Taverner Consort & Players | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 245 - A. Parrott
Bach Books:
Book - The Essential Bach Choir [A. Parrott]

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: ýMarch 23, 2009 ý09:23:17