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4.7 out of 5 stars
Bach : St Matthew Passion
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2000
The whole work is performed with a sense of awe and mystery as bach takes us on a journey of faith from tragic destiny to the ultimate hope. The story of our saviors walk to calvary is captured with unerring wisdom by Gardner and his select group of choral and orchestral forces. This recording should not be missed by those who love the deep spiritual essence that Bach prescribed to his music. The Monteverdi choir and English Baroque soloists deserve high praise in performing this most difficult and touching of Bachs sacred works. John Eliot Gardner has indeed captured on disc a monumental achivement that Bach himself would have wanted to share with those who love the sacred arts. This set can be highly recommended and will be an important addition to the Bach anniversary in 2000. Please enjoy this fine recording...
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2003
I supect this review will not add much to what has already been written. I have lived with this recording since it was first released, and it can't be bettered in any way. The quality of the production is superb and Gardner's sure and deft touch astounds. Particular highlights are the unbearably poignant "Erbarme dich", the delightfully reflective "Aus liebe wird mein Heiland sterben" the almost-joyous "Mache dich mein Herze rein" and, of course, the 3 best bars ever written in the whole history of music: the stupendous "Wahrlich, diese ist Gottes sohn gewesen" (Truly this was the son of God). Play that chorus as loudly as your Hi Fi and your neighbours will allow! This is definitely the "one from the eight" on Desert Island Discs! BUY IT!
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2000
Anyone who has the pleasure of listening to this recording will agree with me that it is trully superb. Gardiner has produced a virtually perfect performance, probably more remarkable than Bach himself would ever have heard. The poor man would have found it hard to come across such wonderful set of soloists to work for him. If like me you prefer traditional Baroque 'wobble' free voices, then this is the perfect recording. Ann Monoyios is at her very best, but please look out for the mache dich, and erbaume dich arias. You won't find better throughout the history of music. Wonderfully performed by the soloists on this CD. Please don't even consider any other recording, because this is the one you just have to have. If you are worried about the price, don't, because believe me you won't regret it. I know I sound like I'm trying to sell you the thing, but if everyone had heard this recording, the world would be a better place.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2003
This is the best recording I have heard of this awe-inspiring work. Gardiner conducts and interprets with both his heart and head in utter musical balance. Even though Gardiner can be said to have his own unique style, he never crosses the line of idiosyncracy. Too many musicians try to make a statement when interpreting music, perhaps especially baroque music. Not so with Gardiner, he just makes music.
After owning and listening to several other recordings of this work, I remember having a sense of "aaah yes, _that's_ what it should sound like" after hearing this one.
Wonderful.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2003
I bought this recording some years ago. To use a hackneyed phrase, I don't know much about music but I know what I like, and I like this. Gardiner loves Bach and has a real sympathy with him. What we have here is a dramatic interpretation of the work throughout. The technique is superb. I have read reviews that call this a dramatic interpretation at the expense of religious awe. I don't agree - I think the drama serves to induce religious awe - listen to the "thunder and lightning" chorale. This was the first Bach I ever heard, and now I am well and truly smitten. It's thrilling music, by an outstanding choir and conductor, and it's performed perfectly. It isn't too smooth, as are sone interpretations. Bach should be passionate, not silky, and Gardiner is good at that. I recommend this recording without reservation
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2011
John Eliot Gardiner may have taken the first movement a little fast, but that is a small niggle compared with what I consider to be a superb performance throughout. I love the clarity and precision of the Montiverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists - I have several recordings of theirs and have never been disappointed. I found the whole performance deeply moving and it brings back many happy memories of singing this work over the years with a local choir. I agree with "A Customer" who said "Why wait to hear this music played in Heaven?" Sublime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
A really excellent recording with both finesse and power where needed. I am a longstanding lover of this piece and have seen it live many times. This recording is full of drama and integrity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2012
This pack is more than wonderful. I really appreciate the music so much. Nice to listen to during Easter. If you love J S Bach, you will not regret purchasing this pack of 3 CDs.
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on 23 March 2014
This is a three CD set with excellent explanatory notes in four languages. Very informative. The music is extremely well presented with appropriate tempo. Worth the extra cost, this lives up to it's reputation as one of the best versions available.
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on 8 December 2013
One of the best recordings on the market
Great stylish singing and playing !
Good we'll conducted tempi that don't drag!
Bravi Tutti
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