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Bach St Matthew Passion (abridged)
 
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Bach St Matthew Passion (abridged)

Elisabeth Grümmer/Marga Höffgen/Anton Dermota/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Otto Edelmann/Wiener Sängerknaben/Wiener Singakademie Chor/Wiener Philharmoniker/Wilhelm Furtwängler
16 Mar. 2009 | Format: MP3

£13.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
8:07
30
2
0:53
30
3
1:40
30
4
0:31
30
5
0:17
30
6
0:37
30
7
0:37
30
8
1:55
30
9
1:23
30
10
5:15
30
11
0:43
30
12
5:40
30
13
0:15
30
14
0:28
30
15
2:00
30
16
1:28
30
17
4:17
30
18
1:54
30
19
1:32
30
20
1:57
30
21
1:17
30
22
2:14
30
23
3:04
30
24
6:25
30
25
0:57
30
26
1:33
30
27
1:39
30
28
2:03
30
29
2:43
30
30
4:41
30
31
1:28
30
32
8:26
Disc 2
30
1
5:29
30
2
0:45
30
3
0:36
30
4
1:38
30
5
1:04
30
6
1:36
30
7
1:20
30
8
1:38
30
9
9:02
30
10
1:06
30
11
1:55
30
12
2:49
30
13
0:15
30
14
1:40
30
15
5:16
30
16
2:21
30
17
1:48
30
18
1:23
30
19
2:23
30
20
0:55
30
21
1:00
30
22
1:36
30
23
2:29
30
24
2:43
30
25
2:31
30
26
2:52
30
27
2:27
30
28
0:40
30
29
2:38
30
30
8:17
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 7 Jan. 1995
  • Release Date: 16 Mar. 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • Copyright: c 1995 EMI Records ltd
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 2:30:11
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002VT03TG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 556,876 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Has there become a sort of apartheid, the strict separation of singers who perform opera and those who perform sacred music, particularly Renaissance and Baroque religious music? Is this the true legacy of the "HIPsters", the historically-informed period performance brigade? I listened to an interview yesterday, one positively brown-tongued, where three sage rebels of the old guard (now royalty, period practice having gone mainstream) were given plenty of air time to pat themselves on the back and decry the lack of scepticism to be found in those who now slavishly imitate them. I was particularly amused by one of our own - you'll guess who - insisting on how good a Vaughan Williams' symphony sounds wihtout vibrato after bemoaning the intransigence with which the new (meaning ancient) orthodoxy was met back in the '60s and '70s.

Really, it all comes down to power and position with such people. Ironic that all this fuss about authenticity, completeness, the proper style, should come about in such an irreligious and secularised era, whilst the musical understanding of an earlier and more devout period is sneered at. I wonder how much of Gardiner's team really believes in God? Perhaps they only believe in Gardiner.

This truly 'historic' document of Bach's St Matthew Passion, recorded in Vienna (1954) and directed by Furtwangler, is, I would say, deeply felt; and that feeling is religious. Furtwangler was a composer-conductor, a double profession which gave him a special understanding of music, something the glorified choirmasters of our new century certainly lack. His performances of the Beethoven and Brahms and Wagner are legendary; anyone who has marvelled at them will know when this Bach happening fades into silence that the snarky designation 'romantic' has no place here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr Konrad Schneckenhauer on 26 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
I agree with much of what other reviewers have written here about the strengths of Furtwängler's performance: clearly there is dedication and a deep emotional involvement in the music. But there are also some things which I find less appealing.

The choirs are fuzzily recorded and sing with little discipline or focus, and the sopranos do some really awful scooping. Anton Dermota sings beautifully, if you can tolerate his rather sugary, operatic style. Fischer-Dieskau has his beautiful moments, but at dramatic points - even at this early stage in his career - his tone hardens and becomes harsh and ugly. This is strange, as he is capable of singing of the utmost refinement and beauty elsewhere (for example in the much later DG recording of Tannhäuser conducted by Gerdes). Marga Höffgen sings with a high emotional voltage more suited to Brangäne than to Bach, and I find it a bit much.

I like the slow way with the chorales, the hushed manner, the long rallentandi-diminuendi. I don't mind the slow tempi at all - I am no zealot for modern ideas about authenticity - but what I really do mind about Furtwängler's conducting in certain passages here is a stodginess, a lack of forward momentum, which makes the music terribly boring - Erbarme dich in particular is horribly undermined by this stodginess, along with a hideously sugary violin solo, and Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder is interminably treacly. It's not simply a matter of tempo - Klemperer shows that slow tempi can have impetus - it's a matter of having a sense of purpose and movement, both of which are too often lacking here. On the other hand, many of the big dramatic choral numbers are very exciting indeed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Austin HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 23 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
Why do music lovers become so militant over issues like the correct way to perform the great music of earlier centuries? The music of Bach, for example, is great enough to be valid in any numbers of formats, styles or performance conventions.
If you have this open-minded approach, you might be ready to receive my recommendation of this recent release, on two CDs, of a performance of Bach's "St Matthew Passion" Wilhelm Furtwaengler conducted in Vienna during Easter 1954, a few months before his death. There is greatness in Furtwaengler's view of the work, but there are many of his eccentricities also . His preference for slow tempi is apparent. Indeed, the choral, at each repetition, becomes slower and slower. Expect a rallentando, also, at the end of each item. The soloists provide some of the most luscious, also the most dramatic, singing I have ever heard in this work. It is a public performance. You will be able to detect when the chorus stands and seats itself.
Bruno Walter by 1945 had come to deeply regret that he had conducted abridged versions of this great work. Furtwaengler in 1954 had no such scruples, apparently. Fourteen of the work's 78 parts were omitted in this performance, and a further two were deleted when it was prepared much later for CD release due to technical deficiencies. The sound quality on these two well-filled CDs is excellent for its era, and especially favorable to the soloists. In summary, this release does not provide all the insights one might be offered into this great work, but it allows us to glimpse much of its greatness.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
For personal reasons... 14 May 2004
By Howard Grady Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
.... I give this 5 stars. If you are primarily interested in period performance Bach, this is not for you. If you are interested in modern instrument Bach with reduced forces and a strong sense of baroque style (Woldike, Richter), this is also not for you.
This is in the romantic tradition of the 19th century, and it is not a complete performance -- there are cuts -- but I think it must approach what Mendelsohn offered his audience when he performed this work, and launched a Bach revival that continues to this day. (There is, in fact, a modern recording of the version used by Mendlesohn, but I have yet to hear it.)
This is a broadly paced, reverential performance, beautifully performed. It is not in the hyper-inflated style of Beecham's MESSIAH out of Berlioz, but one does sense that Bruckner would have approved of this performance: sehr feierlich.
Purists will be offended; they usually are. If Gardiner is far to the left of Klemperer, Furtwangler is far to the right. So, be warned. Personally, I love this recording, and probably for all the wrong reasons. Evidently love is not only blind, but deaf as well.
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Bring back the passion 11 Mar. 2005
By Curmudgeon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Oh, my God. Literally. If you are wondering what happened to the passion of Bach's Passions, try this recording. The opening chorus, which Klemperer treats with such magisterial beauty, here will rip you to shreds. The orchestral phrasing, perhaps especially in the woodwinds, is stunning throughout and seems to want to walk right out of the CD and embrace the listener with sorrow and grace. As a bonus, the sound quality is quite a bit better than on the Maestro's other recordings.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Depth and Tragedy 14 April 2005
By Derek Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording embodies everything I love about Furtwangler's artistry with great clarity. If I had to pick two words to describe it, I would choose honesty and strength. Furtwangler's interpretation of the St. Matthew Passion (a work he dearly loved ever since his childhood) is nothing if not honest. He doesn't stop at rendering the score with beauty and pathos (as, for example, Karajan does), he dwells on each and every word of the Passion story, expressing them with incredible power. Furtwangler leaves nothing to chance: it is clear that over the decades he thought deeply over even the smallest details. This is another thing I love about his artistry: he was never satisfied with just achieving moments of inspiration, he demanded from himself that every moment have integral significance within the whole. The sense of architecture here is overpowering; for example, after the chorale wenn ich einmal so scheiden (delivered with a radiance that has to be heard to be believed) comes a moment that has to stand as one of the greatest in recorded music, when the chorus says "truly, he was the Son of God". The expression achieved cannot be put into words, it has such a powerful effect.

Even if the execution and the recording were poor, this would be worth buying for Furtwangler's visionary way with the score; thankfully though, both are on the whole excellent. The only minor quibbles one could have might be the audience noise (noticeable, but not overwhelming) and some of the vocalists (I have never been a great fan of Hoffgen (she seems so wobbly to me), and sometimes the choir is a little on the hazy side). Other than these truly minor points, the only situation I could imagine a person not liking this performance is if they had certain preconceived notions about what Bach is supposed to sound like, rather than taking this on its own terms. However, I feel that the greatness of a performance should stand on its own, and not rely on anything else (for example, on historical research). I would venture to say Furtwangler's recording of the St. Matthew Passion amply meets this requirement.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Sublime 26 Mar. 2009
By Frank G. Feldman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is an absolutely sublime spiritual document. Minor quibbles aside, what more could one hope for? Bach's greatest masterpiece recorded by the greatest conductor who ever made recordings. You can have all your historically accurate, one voice to a part recordings. This one I take to the desert island.
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