This live NDR Kultur radio broadcast from 2003 is a
welcome addition to John Eliot Gardiner's heroic engagement
with the sacred works of J S Bach. He is indeed a master of
his craft. In his hands (together with The Monteverdi Choir
and The English Baroque Soloists) The St John Passion is given
a visionary performance which confirms its status as one of
Bach's most eloquent compositions. (No poor second fiddle to
The St Matthew Passion in this beautiful rendition!)
The warmth of sound generated in the Konigslutter Kaiserdom
concert is vividly captured by producer Frank Lipp and
recording engineer Helge Martensen. (The levels are a tad on
the quiet side truth-be-told but this does not significantly
diminish, or impact upon, the quality of our listening experience).
Tenor Mark Padmore is an elegant (and fearless)
Evalgelist; bass Hanno Muller-Brachmann, a credible
Jesus and Peter Harvey a workmanlike Pilatus.
Alto Bernarda Fink and sopranos Katharine Fuge and
Joanne Lunn complete the fine team of soloists.
The Monteverdi Choir deliver their chorales with a
scintillating mix of gusto and aching tenderness.
Maestro Gardiner contributes an insightful essay
in the liner notes. The German libretto also appears
in English and French translations. The photography
and packaging is splendidly designed and executed.
All-in-all a St John Passion to rank with the very best.
on 19 March 2011
This is John Eliot Gardiner's second recording of the St. John (the previous one being for DG Archiv about 10 years ago). It is different in that it is a live performance, and a very nice one too - the recording quality is outstanding. As Gardiner says, the St. John is often regarded as the poor relation of the St. Matthew. However, Gardiner demonstrates that this is not the case, as he brings out all the drama and poignancy of the John's Gospel account. His soloists are excellent, with a minor reservation against Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Jesus), whom I think was only slightly better than adequate. As always, the Monteverdis (recently selected by a "Gramophone" survey as the world's best choir) and the EBS shine brilliantly. I look forward to further Gardiner SDG issues in this series, including the brilliant Herderkirche Christmas Oratorio.
on 17 February 2013
A beautifully produced and printed score. The only quibble I have as that as the text is in German AND English, it makes it difficult to read. This work is rarely performed in English so it would be better if the text were in German only thus giving more space for the inner parts. As it is, there is no room to print the text under EACH part. If choirs wish to perform this marvellous work in English they would be better off to use the Novello score.