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Bach Johannes-Passion / St. John Passion

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Bogey:
Some time ago, I started a thread on Bach's St. Matthew Passion and it proved extremely helpful to me.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,4877.0.html

Now, I turn to searching for a recording of St. John Passion.  I am leaning toward this one, due to my enjoyment of this conductor's work I have of the St. Matthew:



However, revisiting some Gardiner cantatas yesterday and enjoying them along with this partial review makes me want to get some of your thoughts before making the leap:

You could spend many hours of listening and fill dozens of pages of text to expound the similarities, differences, felicities, inconsistencies, and relative merits of the many past and present recordings of Bach's St. John Passion. After all, we're dealing with a work that existed in at least four different versions in Bach's time and that today is performed from different stylistic points of view and using various editions. We usually hear some form of the original setting first presented in Leipzig in 1724, based on a partial-autograph score from 1739. This is known as the "first version" and it opens with one of Bach's grand choral movements "Herr, unser Herrscher". In Philipe Herreweghe's own "first" recording of this work with his Collegium Vocale Gent in 1987, he adopted this more-commonly performed version--and as carefully explained in the liner notes--also chose to use a female alto soloist for "subjective reasons" of timbre and expressive qualities.

Well, nearly 15 years later, Herreweghe has opted not only for the notably different "second" version (a revision that Bach produced in 1725, a year following the work's first performance) , but also seems to have found an ideal male alto in the person of countertenor extraordinaire Andreas Scholl. The immediate difference you hear is the absence of the original big chorus, which Bach replaced with the rather less ambitious chorale-based chorus "O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß" that he later used again in the St. Matthew Passion. Other differences concern substitution of several new arias for the original ones, and replacement of the final chorale "Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein" with a more elaborate choral setting, "Christe, du Lamm Gottes".

Though they advocate more than one recording, I only want to purchase one at this time.  Thanks!

DavidW:
I might be the only fan that hasn't moved onto newer recordings-- but Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Choir and Orchestra is deeply satisfying. 0:)

Bogey:

--- Quote from: DavidW on August 01, 2009, 05:35:44 AM ---I might be the only fan that hasn't moved onto newer recordings-- but Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Choir and Orchestra is deeply satisfying. 0:)

--- End quote ---

Is this the set you have, David, and if so, what are the dates of the Matthew and John recordings?

Coopmv:

--- Quote from: DavidW on August 01, 2009, 05:35:44 AM ---I might be the only fan that hasn't moved onto newer recordings-- but Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Choir and Orchestra is deeply satisfying. 0:)

--- End quote ---

The recording itself is fine but the DVD is terrible.  The cameraman shot more images of the wall and ceiling of the church where the "film" was originally shot with only occasional shots of the soloists.  My favorite mezzo of that era - Julia Hamari, only appeared on a few occasions that lasted less than a minute each.

DavidW:

--- Quote from: Bogey on August 01, 2009, 05:41:32 AM ---Is this the set you have, David, and if so, what are the dates of the Matthew and John recordings?

--- End quote ---

Yup and

St John = 1964
St Matthew = 1959

It's old school. ;D  It's not Klemperer-esque, but not Rifkin HIP either.  I think you describe Richter as part of the neo-Baroque Leipzig style, so you get lean textures and modest orchestra size.

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