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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 3 December 2013
Jacobs' and the Berliners' new Mätthaus-Passion is really something new and extraordinary. It is based on the thinking (and studies) of not just two choirs and orchestras but two organs and definitive placement of the performers, i.e. according to the layout of the old Thomaskirche of Leipzig. There are many interesting solutions related to singing, playing etc. but what is most personal in this production is just the aim to recover the performative situation of the 18th century Leipzig, the 'mis-en-scene' of the two choirs performing opposite each other (church-goers sitting between them). Impossible aim sonically? Well, listen to the discs and be amazed. The modern studio sounds really like an old church. What one needs to think is the state of one's sound system. I've listened to these discs with couple of systems and have to say that 'low-hifi' is not for this production; because of the deliberate three dimensional 'church sound stage' of the discs there is a constant threat of hollowness in low-hifi. So, it's more than convenient that the discs are SACD-DSD. There are also studio master streams up to at least 24/96 available in the markets. Listen and be moved!
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on 3 December 2013
The Matthew Passion of J.S.Bach of Rene Jacobs is fantastic. It has a complete new vieuw on Metthew Passions. As Rene Jacobs states: "this is as much close to the Bach's performance as we know". The separation of the two choires into a bigger and a smaller is really strange, but beautiful. The number of soloists is increased and their performance is amazing. I love it and would recommend it to anyone who is a lover of Passions. (This is my number 19)
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on 13 February 2014
Not beeing a specialist in music, I think that this major work by the greatest of geniuses has found in this new approach a reference quality. A wonderful edition by a wonderful set of great musicians that I would offer to every friend.
Thank you Mr. Jacobs. Once again.
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on 29 March 2015
I am not a particularly religious person. I am no scholar of music either, nor have I heard other recordings of this (excepting the short piece that Martin Scorsese used in the film Casino). But this makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A work of genius and this makes my hifi system perform like nothing else I have - such is the beautiful wall of sound this recording is.

Comes with a documentary on DVD which is interesting though the subtitles are very small and quite often disappear before you get a chance to read them.

But the music is what matters here. An extraordinary piece of music.
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on 6 June 2014
A very good recording, with quite a few of my personal favorite choral pieces well sung.
I was impressed by this offering from Amazon as I had not realized that it qualified for the free Mp3 download of the work - Nice!
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on 29 April 2014
I found the instrumental accompaniment harsh and felt it detracted from the beauty of the voices. I am aware that it is creating a performance more in its original style, but for my modern hearing , a more gentle accompaniment would be more in tune with the subject.
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on 29 May 2015
Life has never been busier - or has it? On our part, who works 9-to-5 nowadays? Few, I suggest: we're on call 24 by 7 by 365. Citizen Murdoch - a papal knight, no less - bombards us with news, bread and circuses every minute of the day. Smart-phones demand our attention. Who can avoid social media? It's the new idiot-box. We spend hours each day in transit in these mega-cities of ours. Lunch is a desultory affair in front of the laptop. Sleep is being compressed by early mornings and nights so late. It's no wonder that we're so irreligious. Run, don't walk. Rush, don't meander. Consume, don't reflect.

That being said, consider the citizens of Leipzig in Bach's day. I have no reason to doubt the rectitude of René Jacobs' treatment of the Matthew Passion: it's historical to the point of being a time-capsule. Time-pressed as we are, these Eighteenth Century Lutherans were more frantic in their daily lives. As conveyed, "Adagio" in their minds (or the German equivalent) meant "at a brisk pace" to reflect the wider haste. Becoming still and reflecting on the Paschal Mystery would have been foreign to them: it was rush, rush, rush all the way - give unto God what belongs unto God so long as it can be winzipped and shipped out quick-smart in a Fedex-type job. In the opening Chorus, Jesus sprints towards Golgotha, thereby aligning his suffering with their predicament.

Wonders will not cease. It has been suggested that St Thomas' in Leipzig was a precursor to Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral in that it catered for wagons and coaches in an Eighteenth Century drive-in type arrangement. Elsewhere, post-war reconstruction work in Leipzig uncovered not a few fast-food restaurants from the 1720s, many of which specialised in Kentucky-style fried chicken.

Having reduced the number of compact discs from three to two, I hear that Rene Jacobs is reasonably happy with this endeavour: it's so uber-historical. For the moment, he can rest breathlessly on his laurels. Nevertheless, there's room for improvement. If he gets a chance to re-record the Matthew Passion, it could feature a single disc.

Beware the slipstream!
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on 7 March 2015
Excellent sound, and an attractive interpretation
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