With a stellar cast and very fine EMI recording, this is a unique version of the St. Matthew Passion, one enjoyed above all others by its devotees , and it has held its place in the catalogue pretty well since it was first issued. In its own terms it is unparalleled, and yet ... and yet ..... I can't just dismiss the best of the 'authentic' versions with smaller forces and a leaner approach, generally faster tempos and clearer internal balance. In the end of the day, I find John Eliot Gardiner's version, for example, as moving as this, as well sung and, because it is more varied and more dramatic (though not more spiritual, but not less either), a more approachable version. I find Klemperer is a bit of an effort, to be honest, and not for doctrinaire reasons but because some of the arias really do go for a long time and there is less variety in tempi and sonorities than in the Gardiner version. So I would withdraw a single star because, for me, there are versions which it is easier to live with, but for occasional hearings, this remains required listening for all admirers of this extraordinary work.