Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best recording of 'authentic' performance, 8 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Bach - St Matthew Passion (Audio CD)
Over the last several decades, the performance style - of baroque music, in particular - changed a lot. As a result, there are a large number of recordings of St Matthew Passion in a wide ranging performance style. To me, the Berlin Classics version recorded in 1970 - in then atheistic East Germany - is by far the best, since it shows the authentic tradition, not influenced by current fashion or trend.

The two most famous boys' choirs - Thomanerchor (The Choir of St Thomas's Church, Leipzig) and Kreuzchor (The Choir of Holy Cross Church, Dresden) - took part in the recording. They sing in a clear tone with precise diction. The adult soloists (15 of them in total, six of whom in principal roles) are exemplary. In particular, Peter Schreier (Evangelist) and Theo Adam (Jesus) are unsurpassed in their respective role. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, using modern instruments, gives a superb support. All these choirs, singers and the orchestra based in Saxony are steeped in the Bach tradition so that the listener will feel the 'authenticity' of their performance, despite the higher pitch and modern instruments used.

Bach himself premiered the first version of the work at St Thomas's Church, conducting his own Thomanerchor as part of a Lutheran service in 1729. In the current recording, then cantors of the two boys' choirs - Rudolf and Erhard Mauersberger - share the conducting roles. This performance provides a real experience, as if the listener is a privileged witness to a living tradition rather than something contrived for a recording as is often the case.

I have listened to a number of recordings of the work in my time: Karl Rrichter, Harnoncourt, Karajan, Britten, Gonnenwein, Munchinger, Gardiner, Herreweghe, etc. Each of them offers something interesting, but I was somehow not fully satisfied with any of them for various reasons. Then, I was very glad to find this Berlin Classics version a few years ago by chance.

The recording quality - already more than 40 years old - is very good, although it's inevitably not up to the latest digital recording standard. The 3-CD set comes in a handsomely-packaged box containing a booklet with English translation of the texts. Strongly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Aug 2014 22:07:37 BDT
david says:
Socialist East Germany at its best?
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,529