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St Matthew Passion (Complete St Matthew Passion In English) [CD]

Daedalus String Quartet , Johann Sebastian Bach , Jeffrey Skidmore , Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 20.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

St Matthew Passion (Complete St Matthew Passion In English) + Bach: St John Passion
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jeffrey Skidmore
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (26 Oct 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Orchid Classics
  • ASIN: B002R1PRPI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,547 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 - Ex Cathedra Chamber Choir and Baroque Orchestra
Disc: 2
1. St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 - Ex Cathedra Chamber Choir and Baroque Orchestra

Product Description

Review

Concentrated thought and artistic conviction inform Jeffrey Skidmore's eclectic repertoire selection for Joy in the Morning, twin blessings that govern its compelling cumulative impact. Ex Cathedra's latest album blends the nativity story's eternal mystery, eloquently expressed in Alex Roth's Unborn and John Joubert's title-track recording, with more earthy celebrations of Jesus's birth: the striking contrast between Britten's In the bleak midwinter and Gardner's evergreen setting of The Holly andd the Ivy, for example, works within the context of a programme clearly guided by related moods of reverence, contemplation, joyfulness and popular sentiment. Skidmore's ace chamber choir sings with great heart and intensity. The group's tonal warmth and collective ability to generate atmosphere add to the pleasures of listening. ****(*) --Classic FM Magazine

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new St. Matthew Passion in English 13 Nov 2009
Format:Audio CD
Following English langauge recordings of Bach's Biblical (and operatic) passion story from Kouzzevitsky (1937), Bernstein's chopped up account from 1962, and David Wilcocks' beautifully-sung 1979 statement marred by an unfocused amateur choir, Jeffrey Skidmore and Birmingham-based Ex Cathedra now present us with a modern recording, made in concert on Good Friday 2009 in Birmingham, of Bach's entire religious masterpiece. Using a period band and a style that may have been used in Bach's time -- soloists that step from the choir for their appearances, then return to their parts -- and a mixed professional and amateur force, Skidmore has succeeded in updating the passion for 21st century ears and sensibilities.

Skidmore founded Ex Cathedra 40 years ago and has been its director more than two decades. He is largely unknown outside the UK, being in USA the opposite of a household name for collectors of sacred choral music whose collections overflow with recordings led by the likes of Gardiner, Rilling and Robert Shaw.

Pity that is, for Skidmore and his forces are wonderful practitioners. I first became aware of them by listening to their rendition of Vivaldi choral masterpieces Vivaldi - Vespers [Choral Works] that includes a number of my favorites. I was completely taken with their presentations of the vespers -- which are evening performances, if you didn't know.

I am pleased to say they deliver equally well in this recording of perhaps the greatest of all sacred choral masterpieces. The singers are all youthful and none are big ionternational names yet they all perform more than admirably if not wonderfully. I have performed the St.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars St Mattew Passion 1 May 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A beautiful production and in very clear English. Can recommend if you want the work in English. Quality sound and rich in tone.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good listen. 21 Nov 2012
By Rose H
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I heard a radio programme about St Matthew's Passion and decided to find it on Amazon. At first I was rather confused by the number of recordings available for this piece but chose this particular version because of the reviews and the CD cover picture!! It just appealed more than the others and I was not disappointed. It provides an enjoyable listening experience.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new St. Matthew Passion in English 22 Oct 2010
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Following English langauge recordings of Bach's Biblical (and operatic) passion story from Kouzzevitsky (1937), Bernstein's chopped up account from 1962, and David Willcocks' beautifully-sung 1978 statement, Jeffrey Skidmore and Birmingham-based Ex Cathedra present this rendition recorded in concert on Good Friday 2009 in Birmingham, England of Bach's entire religious masterpiece. Using a period band and a style that may have been used in Bach's time -- soloists that step from the choir for their appearances, then return to their parts -- and a mixed professional and amateur force, Skidmore has succeeded in updating the passion for 21st century ears and sensibilities.

Skidmore founded Ex Cathedra 40 years ago and has been its director more than two decades. He is largely unknown outside the UK, being in USA the opposite of a household name for collectors of sacred choral music whose collections overflow with recordings led by the likes of Gardiner, Rilling and Robert Shaw.

I first became aware of them by listening to their rendition of Vivaldi choral masterpieces that includes a number of my favorites. I was completely taken with their presentations of the vespers -- which are evening performances, if you didn't know.

In Bach's sacred choral masterpiece, the singers are all youthful and none are international names yet they all perform more than admirably. I have performed the St. Matthew Passion twice with a university and my local choral society and I would have been privileged to sing with any of the principals in this group.

There is a failing or two in the package, mostly the result of lack of enunciation by performers. For English speakers, it is not always possible to make out all the words of the choir or some soloists without resorting to the 32-page booklet with full English text and bios of all the performers. The Jesus and evangelist roles are usually best in this regard with the evangelist -- sung by tenor Jeremy Budd -- being one of the most outstanding solo performances.

On balance, the plusses outweigh the negatives, among which are the moderate overall tenor of the performance and the whole thing fitting comfortably on two disks instead of three that comes in slimline packaging, not one of the those bulky, hefty boy CD boxes. Another notable point is the text chosen for the performance is colloquial 21st century English with nary a thou, as if Bach were reborn in the new century. This won't please everyone but it presented no problem of any kind for me. The sound is good, captured in the immediacy of concert in a Birmingham's Symphony Hall where the recording technicians did a good job with an occasional balance issue.

This period style performance is not legionnaire; the solo singers convert to vibrato, for instance, while the strings play sans vibrato. If you seek a modern Enlgish language recording of the St. Matthew Passion, I think you will be satisfied with this. However, if you have been in love with Klemperer's romanticized version for 40 years or if you believe Wilcocks' still wonderful 1978 conception is the pinnacle, this may not be your cup of tea. It presents an interesting contrast to those performances, in any event.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable but with limitations 10 Nov 2010
By A. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am desperate for good version of SMP in English and had high hopes for this one. On balance, this is a good recording. The music is played in period style and the recording quality is high. So, why do I have hesitations? A few reasons:

1. The evangelist {narrator} is miked low relative to the rest of the piece, so I often have to strain to hear him. If I turn it up, when his recitative is over and the arias or chorales begin I am blown back by too much loudness. This has really begun to irritate me. This problem eases significantly in the second part of the oratorio though I do not know why.

2. As noted by another reviewer, the chorus sings too thickly for words to be understood. The whole point of buying a SMP in English is to be able to understand. To be clear, I am not saying that I cannot understand the chorus is its more complex counterpoint pieces - it does not matter what language those are in, you cannot understand them - and the point really is just to let the sound wash over you. BUT, in the simple 4 part chorale settings the words should be clear and these are often not. That said, this is not a problem that is unique to this recording. The larger the choral forces, the less well enunciated individual words tend to be. In fact, I am now on the lookout for a good OVPP SMP in the hopes that the choral sections will be more intelligible with a smaller choral force. Fundamentally, this should not be a serious cause for pause if you are thinking about this for two reasons. First is that the important thing to have in english is the narration and that is done perfectly clearly. Second, the soloists are quite good and I have not needed to refer to the booklet for those parts.

3. In a few places, there is audible audience noise- a little coughing.... This is a live recording, so you can expect that. Really, it is not often but it is there.

OVERALL: The final word on this is that if you want an English SMP, this is clearly it. However, be prepared that you may still want to use the booklet with the words... Which begs the question, did Bach's audiences have the text in front of them or were they expected to hear and understand everything?
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