Author Topic: Bach's St. Matthew Passion  (Read 90150 times)

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Offline Bogey

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Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« on: December 10, 2007, 06:56:01 PM »
As Dave poined out I believe we have threads on this one at the previous forum, but thought it would not hurt to rehash a bit, especially with many new members aboard.  I have the Richter recording which I used to enjoy, but after recent listen was a bit disappointed in.  So, waddya like folks?
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Offline Bogey

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2007, 06:56:17 PM »
Brought this over Dave:

Bill - concerning Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I currently own Max on Capriccio - I've had a number of versions, and this likely will not be my last one - HIP performance from 1995 - I know we've had threads (or at least posts on this composition) - there are so many choices, and I'm sure you'll get an excessive number of variable suggestions - good luck in picking out a new one - Dave  :D

There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Online Que

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 08:13:37 PM »
Harnoncourt has always been my favourite in Bach's sacred music, the Matthäus is no exception.

I've had his 1st recording - pioneering HIP in 1971, with boys sopranos.
But his recent recording - all female sopranos - is a marvel and has it all: it's dramatic, pious and elegant.
Not an epic drama, but a very human drama. Harnoncourt's Matthäus has matured: it has lost nothing of its vigour but has deepened and is more balanced. The participating singers are top-notch and seem to have been type-casted for their roles.



Q
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 12:26:22 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2007, 09:20:44 PM »
Herreweghe (I have his first recording) first and foremost.

Dark horse: Schreier on Philips. A pared-down Staatskapelle Dresden w/ a touch of HIP scholarship. Not Big Tent...not Little Tent. Medium Tent!



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2007, 09:28:45 PM »
Schreier's recording merits some attention, as does Otto Klemperer's massive, lapidary account on EMI. As a rule, though, I end up with McCreesh or Gardiner often as not.

Offline FideLeo

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2007, 10:15:45 PM »
Leonhardt.
(Even though I like how McCreesh's OVPP account often sounds.)
 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 10:25:14 PM by fl.traverso »
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Offline KevinP

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2007, 03:47:09 AM »
First of Bogey, which Richter? Five different Richter SMPs have been made available, and the last one, from 1979 {(p) 1980}, is considered a dud even by many who generally admire him.

I just counted 15 on my shelves and I may have forgotten one or two included in box sets filed elsewhere, and I know I've a couple DVDs I didn't count. Richter's 1959 recording is the one I reach for if I haven't listened to the work in a while. Bernstein's is in English but cut, yet includes a 16+minute talk by the conductor--not a bad way to become familiar with the work so long as you're aware it's cut. Furtwangler's is also heavily cut.

Klemperer's is powerful and as HIP as an elbow. No cuts here: all three CDs are filled to the brim at 73 minutes or more, and there's no coupling of another work.

McCreesh takes tempos so fast that he is the only conductor to ever fit the uncut work on two CDs. It's one of those interpretations that breathes new life into an old warhorse, but you wouldn't want to start with it. (Think about that math-wise. McCreesh's version is an entire jam-packed CD shorter than Klemperer's!)

Herreweghe's is good and (the 1999 version) comes with a truly excellent CD-ROM that's a virtual encyclopaedia on the SMP. If you see it, snag it.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2007, 05:30:24 AM »
First of Bogey, which Richter? Five different Richter SMPs have been made available, and the last one, from 1979 {(p) 1980}, is considered a dud even by many who generally admire him.

I just counted 15 on my shelves and I may have forgotten one or two included in box sets filed elsewhere, and I know I've a couple DVDs I didn't count. Richter's 1959 recording is the one I reach for if I haven't listened to the work in a while. Bernstein's is in English but cut, yet includes a 16+minute talk by the conductor--not a bad way to become familiar with the work so long as you're aware it's cut. Furtwangler's is also heavily cut.

Klemperer's is powerful and as HIP as an elbow. No cuts here: all three CDs are filled to the brim at 73 minutes or more, and there's no coupling of another work.

McCreesh takes tempos so fast that he is the only conductor to ever fit the uncut work on two CDs. It's one of those interpretations that breathes new life into an old warhorse, but you wouldn't want to start with it. (Think about that math-wise. McCreesh's version is an entire jam-packed CD shorter than Klemperer's!)

Herreweghe's is good and (the 1999 version) comes with a truly excellent CD-ROM that's a virtual encyclopaedia on the SMP. If you see it, snag it.


It is the 1980 Kevin. 
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline FideLeo

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2007, 11:54:13 AM »

McCreesh takes tempos so fast that he is the only conductor to ever fit the uncut work on two CDs.


Hermann Max (pictured above in Bogey's post) does that also, and there he doesn't have to sound particularly rushed or even fast. 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 11:57:18 AM by fl.traverso »
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007, 12:26:23 PM »
McCreesh takes tempos so fast that he is the only conductor to ever fit the uncut work on two CDs.

I have Gardiner and his version could be divided to two discs (66:03 + 50:01 + 41:19 = 157:23 = 78:52 + 78:49).
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Don

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2007, 03:18:55 PM »
Herreweghe (I have his first recording) first and foremost.


I also favor the Herreweghe first recording; his second is excellent but a little too refined for my tastes.

Offline FideLeo

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2007, 03:34:42 PM »
I have Gardiner and his version could be divided to two discs (66:03 + 50:01 + 41:19 = 157:23 = 78:52 + 78:49).

It might have an awkward break between discs?  ;)
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2007, 02:04:52 AM »
It might have an awkward break between discs?  ;)

Probably but only one!   ;)
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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Offline FideLeo

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2007, 02:10:55 AM »
Probably but only one!   ;)

One is probably too many for Archiv - who chose to release the recording in three scantily filled discs even in later vesions.  (Unlike the Gardiner Messiah on Philips, which went from three discs to two.) 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 02:15:00 AM by fl.traverso »
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Offline KevinP

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2007, 05:54:18 AM »
It is the 1980 Kevin. 

Bummer, that. This page discusses several recordings, and compares Richter's main ones.

http://www.npj.com/homepage/teritowe/jsb244d.html

Offline Norbeone

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2007, 04:31:41 PM »
Apart from 71 Db, there is a distinct lack of Gardiner recommendations. While this is the only recording of the piece I have, I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, I like it very much, as I do most of Gardiner's other Bach choral works.

Offline gmstudio

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2007, 06:39:52 AM »
Apart from 71 Db, there is a distinct lack of Gardiner recommendations. While this is the only recording of the piece I have, I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, I like it very much, as I do most of Gardiner's other Bach choral works.

Gardiner is the only one I have, and the only one I've ever heard. While I'm certainly open to seeking out some others, I never have felt like I needed to.

Don

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2007, 06:47:27 AM »
Apart from 71 Db, there is a distinct lack of Gardiner recommendations. While this is the only recording of the piece I have, I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, I like it very much, as I do most of Gardiner's other Bach choral works.

I find that Gardiner does an excellent job with all his Bach recordings, although Gardiner's St. Matthew is not one of my favorites.  More than any other conductor of Bach's sacred music, Gardiner celebrates God; for that, I consider his interpretations rather unique and quite satisfying.

Offline Expresso

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2007, 06:54:05 AM »

There are many good recordings of St. Matthew Passion... Leonhardt, Harnoncourt,Herreweghe.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bach's St. Matthew Passion
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2007, 07:29:10 AM »
Apart from 71 Db, there is a distinct lack of Gardiner recommendations. While this is the only recording of the piece I have, I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, I like it very much, as I do most of Gardiner's other Bach choral works.

Well, Gardiner is all I have (I bought the big 9 CD-box) so I can't tell how it compares to others. I find the whole box very satisfactory but of course there might be better versions available.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page