Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

General Discussions - Part 9

Continue from Part 8

The Gramophone Collection - St. Matthew Passion

Donald Satz wrote (March 29, 2004):
I finally was able to acquire the April issue of Gramophone where Jonathan Freeman-Attwood surveys all the recordings made of the St. Matthew Passion. Of the fifteen or so period instrument sets he mentions, he finds all of them lacking in humanity - "too little about the human condition emerges in their interpretations".

To say the least, I find the man's conclusions biased. Given his preferences, it would have been better to have a second reviewer who appreciates the HIP approach survey the period instrument recordings. Any person who doesn't consider Herreweghe I to fully probe the human condition is a person whose opinions I can't trust.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 29, 2004):
< I finally was able to acquire the April issue of Gramophone where Jonathan Freeman-Attwood surveys all the recordings made of the St. Matthew Passion. Of the fifteen or so period instrument sets he mentions, he finds all of them lacking in humanity - "too little about the human condition emerges in their interpretations". >
In my view, many HIP readings display greater humanity than their more monumental, non-HIP predecessors, especially those among the latter who deliberately avoid flexibility in favour of strict terraced dynamics. I suppose it depends on how you define "humanity", in the context of musical performance.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] The weird thing is, Don, I think he is actually very pro-HIP, which makes that remark rather odd. He was also much more enthusiastic about McCreesh when it came out than he is now, but I suppose opinions can change over time - that's fair enough. But I can never quite understand where he is coming from exactly, and you'll notice that rarely, very rarely indeed does any recording of anything get his full approval, without any reservations.

I agree with you about Herreweghe I (apart from big problem I have with René Jacobs, I'm afraid....). For all its greater smoothness of execution (blandnes.....?) I like Herreweghe II rather more than many people.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 29, 2004):
I have yet to read that article, but I must admit I'm not entirely surprised by JF-A's antagonistic approach to HIP versions of the SMP (to see why, check: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Passion-JFA.htm).

For a summary of the SMP's discography more sympathetic to HIP, see: http://homepages.kdsi.net/~sherman/StMatthew.htm

Gabriel Jackson wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Uri Golomb] That's interesting, Uri - for all that he always has some niggling objection to virtually every recording of everything he reviews, I'd always assumed he was pro-HIP.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] I guess it's more complicated than that. Freeman-Attwood has actually produced a few HIP recordings (most recently, Emma Kirkby's recording of the newly-discovered -- or, rather, newly-attributed, Handel Gloria), and his mainly anti-modern-Bach-performance stance in his lecture ("modern" meaning "current approaches", which are mostly HIP) is not entirely borne out in his Gramophone reviews. The lecutre I alluded to consists, mostly, of positive descriptions of older traditions, but Freeman-Atwood can't resist a few salvos against HIP-modernists, especially towards the end of the lecture (as if praising one approach would not be quite complete without denigrating another).

I especially dislike his refrence to the "depressing uniformity of Bach performance today", which in his view is "increasingly set in surface values". My own impression is that recent Bach performance -- as exemplified, among other things, in the most recent recordings of the SMP -- is becoming increasingly versatile; where Freeman-Attwood hears "a world too often bereft of expressive means and interpretative ideas", I find an increasing wealth of both expression and originality. Perhaps Freeman-Atwood believes that all this originality is just a facile attempt to stand out of the crowd; but if that's what he feels about the three performances singled out in Sherman's article (the recent Herreweghe, Suzuki and Harnoncourt), then I couldn't disagree more strongly. Actually, I found quite a positive review of the Harnoncourt on the Gramophone website, which I'm pretty sure is by JF-A, who praises most of it but finds it wanting in the final scenes (he also retains his "praise-through-shaming" gambit, describing Harnoncourt's versoin as "shining like a beacon in a fairly uniform era of recorded vocal Bach").

Overall, I get the impression that JF-A is in two minds about recent Bach performances, managing to praise them highly yet grudgingly, and eventually withdrawing that praise as well.... For my own part, I must admit that I find several recent HIP versions more humane and moving than Richter 1958, which is JF-A's declared benchmark.

Johan van Veen wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] I have honestly no idea what he means by "humanity" in regard to the St Matthew Passion. I have been quickly through the article in our public library, so maybe I missed a clear definition of it.

In the end how someone judges performances and recordings all depends on his standards.

Johan van Veen wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Uri Golomb] I don't agree with the generalising statement that all Bach interpretations of today are 'uniform'. I have the feeling, however, that the Bach interpretation hasn't really changed for the better in recent years.

Not especially referring to the SMP I have heard many modern recordings which I compared with older recordings - from the early HIP days - and concluded that the older one's are a lot better.

My most recent experience: the sonatas for harpsichord and violin, which I heard in a recent recording by Kay Johannsen and Christine Busch - boring, unimaginative, extremely 'equipollent' (as Brad Lehman would say). I then listened to the 1970s recording by Leonhardt and Kuyken - what a difference. Everything makes sense there; they are telling an enthralling story.

What does it tell us that a recording of about 30 years ago is better than most recordings made in the last 10 years or so?

What I hear in many recent recordings, not only in Bach but other repertoire as well, is a lack of differentiation, smoothness with lots of legato playing and singing. And that includes Herreweghe's recent Bach recordings, as well as the cantata recordings by Suzuki. I miss the sharp edges, the strong contrasts too often.

If that is what Freeman-Attwood means, then I would agree.

William D. Kasimer wrote (March 29, 2004):
< My most recent experience: the sonatas for harpsichord and violin, which I heard in a recent recording by Kay Johannsen and Christine Busch - boring, unimaginative, extremely 'equipollent' (as Brad Lehman would say). I then listened to the 1970s recording by Leonhardt and Kuyken - what a difference. Everything makes sense there; they are telling an enthralling story. What does it tell us that a recording of about 30 years ago is better than >most recordings made in the last 10 years or so? >
I haven't heard it, but it tells mem, perhaps, that Leonhardt and Kuijken are extraordinary musicians. On the other hand, it may only reveal little more than the fact that you prefer Leonhardt and Kuijken. It certainly tells me NOTHING about Bach performance 30 years ago vs. those of the last decade.

John Pike wrote (March 29, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] I think this is unfair. I read the article myself. I found it very balanced. He had many good things to say about many of the HIP recordings, especially Harnoncourt's 2000 recording, which he lists as one of the best 4 overall, the others being Jochum, Werner and Richter 1958. No-one would disagree, I suspect with the Harnoncourt and Richter recommendations.

Donald Satz wrote (March 30, ):
[To Johan van Veen] I also often miss the sharp edges, but I think there's a large body of folks who prefer the silky smooth approach.

One of the first discs I reviewed for MusicWeb was a piano disc of Gottschalk's music performed by Cecile Licad for Naxos. She was absolutely bracing and adventurous, giving us a New World treatment of a young country hungry for more territory, wealth, and importance. Well, I received a number of complaining e-mails suggesting that I knew nothing of Gottschalk's music and that the Philip Martin/Gottschalk series on Hyperion showed how these pieces should be played. I am familiar with Martin's performances which I consider very Old World with a smooth and cosmopolitan sensuality. I was a little critical of Martin in my review, and that really irked many readers.

Initially, I couldn't understand why anybody would want Gottschalk to sound like a mainstream European composer. With hindsight, I feel that most people simply prefer their music smoothly delivered in loving phrases no matter where the hell the composer comes from.

Donald Satz wrote (March 30, 2004):
[To John Pike] Right, balanced in favor of historical modern-instrument accounts of the work. The accurate quotation I provided is enough for me not to trust his opinions. Also, I would disagree with his placing the newest Harnoncourt version above all other HIP recordings of the work. The guy doesn't connect with my perceptions, so it's reasonable for me to exclude him from having any impact on my recording acquisitions.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (March 30, 2004):
John Pike wrote: < No-one would disagree, I suspect with the Harnoncourt and Richter recommendations.>
Why wouldn't they?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (March 30, 2004):
John Pike wrote: < I read the article myself. I found it very balanced. He had many good things to say about many of the HIP recordings, especially Harnoncourt's 2000 recording, which he lists as one of the best 4 overall, the others being Jochum, Werner and Richter 1958. No-one would disagree, I suspect with the Harnoncourt and Richter recommendations. >
I would certainly disagree with the Richter recommendation! Others will disagree with the Harnoncourt. And others will agree with neither....

Gabriel Jackson wrote (March 30, 2004):
Uri Golomb wrote: < I especially dislike his refrence to the "depressing uniformity of Bach performance today", which in his view is "increasingly set in surface values". My own impression is that recent Bach performance -- as exemplified, among other things, in the most recent recordings of the SMP -- is becoming increasingly versatile; where Freeman-Attwood hears "a world too often bereft of expressive means and interpretative ideas", I find an increasing wealth of both expression and originality. >
Agreed, Uri; if one takes, say, Harnoncourt I, Leonhardt, Harnoncourt II and McCreesh in the SMP I can't see any evidence of "depressing uniformity".

David Glenn Lebut Jr wrote (March 30, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] How does he rate Richter and the Thomanerchor performances?

John Pike wrote (March 30, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Sorry. I find both recordings very rewarding myself and was wrong to assume that everyone else would enjoy both recordings, when JFA, myself and other reviewers have praised them.

John Pike wrote (March 30, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] He has many favourable comments about the 1958 Richter recording (which is one of his 4 all-time top recordings), but he is very critical of Richter's much later performance. I have both recordings and would agree that the second is much less good.


Identify this SMP recording!

Fredrik Sandstrom wrote (April 16, 2004):
I happened to come across a recording of the SMP in mp3 format, without indication of who the performers are. All I know is that it is none of the recordings that I'm familiar with (Harnoncourt 2001, Gardiner, Richter 1980, Leonhardt 1990). I've put up the first recitative here: http://www.iki.fi/fs/tmp.mp3

Could someone have a listen and perhaps identify the recording for me?

Adrian Horsewood wrote (April 16, 2004):
[To Fredrik Sandstrom] The tenor Evangelist is Peter Schreier, I think... So, the recording is one of:

Rudolf & Erhard Mauersberger
Schreier, Adam (Jesus); Dresdner Kreuzchor & Thomanerchor Leipzig;
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Eurodisc/Leipzig Classics, 1970

Herbert von Karajan
Schreier, Fischer-Dieskau (Jesus); Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus, Wiener Singverein & Boys' Choir of the Staats- und Domchores Berlin; Berliner Philharmoniker
Deutsche Grammophon, 1972

Karl Richter
Schreier, Fischer-Dieskau (Jesus); Münchener Bach-Chor & Regensburger Domspatzen (Chorus Master ? Georg Ratzinger); Münchener Bach-Orchester
Archiv Produktion, 1979

Peter Schreier
Schreier, Adam (Jesus); Dresden Kapellknaben (Chorus Master Konrad Wagner) & Rundfunkchor Leipzig (Chorus Master - Jörg-Peter Weigle); Staatskapelle Dresden
Philips, 1984

However, the bass singing Jesus definitely isn't Fischer-Dieskau, which means that the recording is either the Mauersberger recording or Schreier's own. It's at modern pitch, but more than that I can't tell you - I don't actually own any of the above recordings!

Matthieu Drion wrote (April 16, 2004):
[To Adrian Horsewood] I think it's not the Herbert Von Karajan recording.

Uri Golomb wrote (April 16, 2004):
[To Fredrik Sandstrom & Adrian Horsewood] The sample in question (http://www.iki.fi/fs/tmp.mp3) is from Schreier's own recording (where he doubles as conductor and evangelist).

William D. Kasimer wrote (April 16, 2004):
[To Adrian Horsewood] I own the Richter, which this isn't. But the bass singing Jesus is definitely Theo Adam (I'd recognize that rasp anywhere), if that's of any help.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 17, 2004):
[To Fredrik Sandstrom] All I know is, it's definitely not Richter-much faster, and not using the exact wording of the score.

Fredrik Sandstrom wrote (April 17, 2004):
[To Uri Golomb] Thank you, and others who have replied, much appreciated!


Matthew Passion - Gardiner/ McCreesh artistic judgement

Charles Francis wrote (April 27, 2004):
William D. Kasimer wrote: < And to take your own example, the St. Matthew Passion, there are several recordings that could be squeezed onto 2 CD's, but have been issued on three. I found this out when I read a similar complaint that McCreesh's recording had been crammed onto 2 CD's and was too fast, by someone praising Gardiner's recording. As it turned out, the Gardiner (and Brüggen, as I recall) was actually slightly faster, and could have fit onto 2 CD's, although released on 3 (presumably for musical reasons). >
It does not surprise me that a musician of Gardiner's calibre and standing would insist on a musically appropriate break necessitating three CDs rather than two. With regard to McCreesh, I note the first CD has length 80' 16, while the second has length 81' 14; that is both are right at the limits of their capacity. So I personally think it was the master plan to fit the work on two CDs; the slim-line packaging certainly supports that contention. A third CD, would not only have led to a 50% increase in mastering and production costs for the CDs themselves, it would also have necessitated an increase in the CD box size. This, in turn, would have led to increased fabrication, distribution and storage costs; above all, an increase in that most valuable commodity: shelf space in the music store. Of course, I may well be wrong. McCreesh may really have felt that the break between the aria "Gedult! Wenn mich falsche Zungen stechen" and the recitative "Und der Hohepriester antwortete" was optimum! If that is the case, his artistic decision fortunately coincided with the only technically possible place for a break; that is, unless some faster takes of certain movements existed. But perhaps the fastest takes were already used to compress the work onto two CDs?

< Finally, since elementary logic dictates that one cannot prove a negative hypothesis, would you please prove the positive one, by providing an example or two where perfhave admitted that tempi were chosen for non-musical reasons? I won't deny that companies sometimes package and reissue recording in ways that maximize profit, but I have not heard of any instances where such decisions influenced the performers. >
Will Mr. Lehman's example of Glenn Gould do?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 27, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < So I personally think it was the master plan to fit the work on two CDs; the slim-line packaging certainly supports that contention. >
Perfectly possible - although the design (and thus the type of packaging used) is done after the contents of the recording are known. That doesn't mean it wasn't thought about before, of course.

"A third CD, would not only have led to a 50% increase in mastering and production costs for the CDs themselves"
These are neglible, in the scheme of things. And a 3rd disc would enable DG to justify charging more more the set, which would vastly offset any extra pressing costs, this making it more profitable.

"But perhaps the fastest takes were already used to compress the work onto two CDs?"
Here we go again! It has already been pointed out, more than once, that this doesn't happen. Unless one is experiemting in the recording studio, trying a movement different ways - for artistic reasons, note! - the tempo of each take of a movement should be identical, if the performers and producer(s) are doing their jobs. Apart from anything else, you cannot edit between two different takes if the tempi are not the same.

A far more likely explanation for the 2CD format is that, having finished editing the completed recording, DG (in consultation with Paul McCreesh) realised it could be squeezed onto two discs and decided that a selling price of 2 instead of 3 discs would make it attractive to customers, and so increase sales. (Of course they could also have put it out on 3 discs and sold them for the price of 2, but why (marginally) increase their costs when there is no need to?)

Of course, if what you' really mean is that you don't like McCreesh's recording, why not just say so?

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Whatever next? Is OVPP also an attempt to save cash?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To John Pike] Believe it or not, Peter, but there is a lot of people (not me obviously!) saying that OVPP was "created" to save money °__°

Same people 30-40 years ago used to say about performing on original instruments that it was something "created" by record labels to sell more records ("You've bought all Bach? Now it's time to buy everything again, this time on original instruments").

Riccardo Nughes wrote (April 27, 2004):
< It does not surprise me that a musician of Gardiner's calibre and standing would insist on a musically appropriate break necessitating three CDs rather than two. >
Do you really think/believe that a performer has so much power on packaging? Most of the times they don't have power on mixing/editing... Consider Savall : when he was tired of all the "manipulations" made on his recordings he fonded his label, Alia Vox, to have complete control on his music.

Charles Francis wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes] In Gardiner's case, yes, I do imagine he has the power to influence things on artistic grounds. If the record companies messed him around, I expect he could easily make a comfortable living from live concerts.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Classical musicians (with one or two rare exceptions) don't make significant amounts of money from recordings. In fact, not only do many of them make recordings for no money at all, but they actually put their own money into their recordings. There are many reasons for making recordings, but one is that they are an essential way for artists to get themselves and their work known, and as a result get more and/or better paid concert engagements.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] DG/Archiv did mess him around, cancelling all but 12 discs (3 of which had been previously released) of his planned complete Bach Cantata recordings. He no longer records for DG/Archiv and since then, what has he recorded for Philips? 6 Haydn Masses. Yes, he is still extremely active on the concert platform, but that is partly because of an international profile and reputation that has been built up over the years due, in no small part, to his success as a recording artist.

John Pike wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] [snip]

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To John Pike] [snip]

William D. Kasimer wrote (April 28, 2004):
< With regard to McCreesh, I note the first CD has length 80' 16, while the second has length 81' 14; that is both are right at the limits of their capacity. So I personally think it was the master plan to fit the work on two CDs; the slim-line packaging certainly supports that contention. A third CD, would not only have led to a 50% increase in mastering and production costs for the CDs themselves, it would also have necessitated an increase in the CD box size. >
Except that the "slim-line" packaging isn't particularly slim. The set is slightly smaller than a normal 3-CD jewel case, and actually a good deal wider than, say, the most recent Harnoncourt recording, which is on 3 CD's. Had DG actually wanted to "slimline" the McCreesh recording, and save gobs of money, they could have cut down the size of the booklet (the cost of documentation is considerably higher than the cost of "pressing" the CD's).

<< would you please prove the positive one, by providing an example or two where performers have admitted that tempi were chosen for non-musical reasons? >>
< Will Mr. Lehman's example of Glenn Gould do? >
No. Since you've levelled your charge at HIP performers in general, I think that an example or two from the HIP sphere would be most helpful. And if Gould is the only example extant, perhaps it's the "exception that proves the rule"?

Sw Anandgyan wrote (April 28, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: <snip> < With regard to McCreesh, I note the first CD has length 80' 16, while the second has length 81' 14; that is both are right at the limits of their capacity. >
-=-=-=-=- I believe this was an occurence where it made copying on a 700MB 80 min CD-R impossible. Previously the compact disc could only hold 74 min hence the three-CDs sets ...Anyway, that was my first reaction when I saw those number appear on my player. Most likely not a valid explanation; they really aimed for a two CD set .

<snip> < McCreesh may really have felt that the break between the aria "Gedult! Wenn mich falsche Zungen stechen" and the recitative "Und der Hohepriester antwortete" was optimum! > <snip>
-=-=-=- I think where the breaks happen in a double CD set is the least of a conductor concerns and one to show our quirks when listening to music. Granted it's more palatable when, for example, the first CD in the MBM concludes with the end of Part 1 but anyway you have to change CDs at one point or another. It happens in the René Jacobs' XO right in the middle of a cantata, it should not be more than slightly maddening, no ?

My two cents (and NOT three !! )

Johan van Veen wrote (April 28, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: < I believe this was an occurence where it made copying on a 700MB 80 min CD-R impossible. Previously the compact disc could only hold 74 min hence the three-CDs sets ...Anyway, that was my first reaction when I saw those number appear on my player. Most likely not a valid explanation; they really aimed for a two CD set ... >
If that is the case they are not very up-to-date in regard to the possibilities of copying CDs. I was able to burn both CDs on CDR without any problem.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 28, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: < I think where the breaks happen in a double CD set is the least of a conductor concerns and one to show our quirks when listening to music. Granted it's more palatable when, for example, the first CD in the MBM concludes with the end of Part 1 but anyway you have to change CDs at one point or another. It happens in the René Jacobs' XO right in the middle of a cantata, it should not bemore than slightly maddening, no ? >
Absolutely. Having to change a CD is not the end of the world.

Had it not been Paul McCreesh whose recording was on only 2 CDs I wonder if there would bave been the same degree of groundless speculation as to the reasons?!

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 28, 2004):
Not about side breaks or argumentation or tempo:

McCreesh's recording remarkably uses a big organ as the main one for choir/orchestra 1, and a small continuo organ (positif) for 2. James Johnstone and Timothy Roberts are the organists. Two manuals and pedal, 15 stops, on the big one; and just about everything gets used at one place or another in the performance. 3.5 stops on the little one.

Are there other recordings within the past 20 or so years where a big organ is used, and (as the booklet notes point out here) as the main accompaniment to the singing while the other instruments of the band serve pretty much as additional "stops" on it? The results sound terrific, to me. Bravo to Johnstone and McCreesh, for Johnstone's outstandingly expressive continuo-playing. (Roberts does fine, too, of course.)

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 28, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Me too. One of the most interesting and successful features of this recording.

Bob Henderson wrote (April 29, 2004):
The use of the organ distinguishes McCreesh's SMP from others more than the OVPP format. Its wonderful to hear that underpinning, so deep, so formulative.

Neil Halliday wrote (April 30, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: "McCreesh's recording remarkably uses a big organ as the main one for choir/orchestra 1, and a small continuo organ (positif) for 2. James Johnstone and Timothy Roberts are the organists. Two manuals and pedal, 15 stops, on the big one.....The results sound terrific, to me. Bravo to Johnstone and McCreesh, for Johnstone's outstandingly expressive continuo-playing."
http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008HCF1/

I agree with this entirely.

Even a secco recitative in the HIP manner (albeit usual for the SMP, whether HIP or non-HIP) sounds quite musically and dramatically effective - for example, listen to no. 28 "Und siehe, einer aus denen...." in Part 1; and there are many other instances of the variety and effectivemess of this large organ's different registrations, in this recording.

I hope other performers explore the expressive possibilties available with the use of larger (than chamber) organs, where appropriate, for realisation of Bach's keyboard continuo in the sacred works - thus taking us back full circle to pre - 70's organ practice! (At this point, I might also reiterate my desire to see modern piano (appropriately used) take its rightful place in Bach's continuo; eg, in BWV 116's alto aria, the piano (Bach Aria Group) has far and away the most effective keyboard continuo of any of the examples listed at the BCW, despite the poor quality of that ancient, feeble recording).

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 30, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < I hope other performers explore the expressive possibilties available with the use of larger (than chamber) organs, where appropriate, for realisation of Bach's keyboard continuo in the sacred works >
I absolutely agree with this (though probably for different reasons!).

"I might also reiterate my desire to see modern piano (appropriately used) take its rightful place in Bach's continuo; eg, in BWV 116's alto aria, the piano (Bach Aria Group)"
One thing the modern piano cannot claim is the right to be in a Bach continuo group! It could be to be let in though....

Jason Marmaras wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Charles, would you please post a link to Brad's example, that you refer to?
>>Will Mr. Lehman's example of Glenn Gould do?<<

Thanks,

Charles Francis wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Jason Marmaras]
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/8116

Jason Marmaras wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To John Pike] Although I would almost dogmatically agree with your (this) position, I believe Renaissance recordings are always with few instruments (OIPP) for no historical reason (or at least not only for historical reasons)]

Jason Marmaras wrote (May 2, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes] In this mentality you could also say Mendelssohn performed the SMP simply because his own compositions didn't pay enough.

Perhaps Bach's greatness was also a marketing trick, and he's no better than Vitali or Quantz (not that I know their music or have a reason to believe they were not good; but I firmly believe they weren't as good as Bach).

I don't think researchers have companies in mind. Or perhaps they do; but I like the existence of original instrument duplicates, even if they were created to make money. And I like Urtext editions and facsimili, even if they were made only to make more money. Because I see other things in them that I can't in the deformed (not necessarily not good, but surely deformed) instruments and practices on oldr kinds of music. Some more sincere truth, perhaps.

Certainly __ ;


SMPs

Sw Anandgyan wrote (May 15, 2004):
I have been venturing in a better appreciation of the St-Matthew Passion, itamin-style. I mean by that; one a day.

Richter I, Klemperer, both Herreweghe, Brüggen, Suzuki, Harnoncourt III and all of them have been a pleasant experiences. My surprised reaction was to the beauty of the OVPP SMP from McCreesh; there was no distress due to frantic pacing, no adverse reaction to what could be considered thin choirs but a recurring joy and much satisfaction ( which I cannot readily say about his Magnificat CD ).

This current chronological exercise was to be concluded with more fine listening moments with the Gönnenwein and Mengelberg. Why do these older recordings find such admiration from me is a bit puzzling to explain. I'm not a rectal orifice kinda guy, but ...

Is this what they mean by a Romantic bent ? I was at the record store and took a listen and I was floored. Sumptuous in spite of all the popcorn noises but this is a '39 live recording. Quite the contrary of being dismayed so now I just wanted to share the good choice of this $21 purchase and holding back on the Diego Fasolis SMP for $70.

Knowing that the Psalm 51 and cantata BWV 170 from him is to be expected in the record store just next week will help me with this sacrifice.

Sometimes I just don't understand the pricing policy; there is the Koopman MBM available on the shelf and at $83 CDN, I simply look at it. That would be double the price of the more expensive sets. To give you an idea, the Corboz B minor Mass budget reissue on Virgin Veritas X 2 is offered on sale at $17.50 ( these numbers are tax included ).

So, enough of ranting. This was more about a good word for Gönnenwein and Mengelberg and my inclination for solemnity more than virtuosity.

Happy listening to all !

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (May 15, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: < Sometimes I just don't understand the pricing policy; there is the Koopman MBM available on the shelf and at $83 CDN, I simply look at it. That would be double the price of the more expensive sets. To give you an idea, the Corboz B minor Mass budget reissue on Virgin Veritas X 2 is offered on sale at $17.50 ( these numbers are tax included ). >
Well, first of all the Virgin Veritas series is, as you said, all budget reissue-I'm guessing the original releases cost about $40 CDN-which is of course still no where near $83.

My guess about the prices is that they maybe they have to ship it to the US, and then get it across the border, then tack on GST and PST (Canadian sales taxes) and there you have it-a seemingly over-priced CD. Gardiner's SMP is about $70, and and his Saul is about that price. Again, there are still the $40 sets even of Gardiner and Koopman, which isn't too bad a price (maybe $25 American?). The odd thing is that Canadian groups such as Tafelmusik and ATMA (the Quebecois label) are as expensive as European groups sometimes...

IfI land that job at the HMV Superstore Classical desk than maybe I'll know some more!


No WMD here …
Comparing Bach’s Passions

Sw Anandgyan wrote (May 17, 2004):
... as in Words of Music Distinctions ;-)

I had kept hesitant towards entering the SMP mostly because of its length; having about three hours to sit through without yet having an eager to hear a particulars aria made it like an ordeal. The benefit of acclimating myself to this oeuvre is that the introduction sinfonia is now welcomed, some arias are better appreciated and it has been the right time; I feel like listening to this !

I could hardly described exactly how I differentiate all the different recordings I may enjoy.

The Mengelberg is as a revelation to me as the sound recorded is archaic. Some may consider this beauty as syrupy but it 'hits the spot' in me. Is it the live recording ( without editing ?!? ) that allows this to feel like a holy opera to my beginner's ears or just the supreme talent of the conductor and the singers ? I'm finding my way through the work, being touched by the vocal feasts, the recognition of the use of modern instruments ans almost totally oblivious to the numerous cuts that have been done to this SMP ( I mean because of a French article on someone else commenting on his love of this oeuvre and mentioning that. Granted it fits on two CDs but I would have to examine it to really pinpoint exactly which sections have been left out as in the Minkowski's Messiah ).

I'm still to vague as to which recording would access desert-island status for myself.

I'm very much into the polished sound of an orchestra and its choir though it may at times comes off as with so few rough spots as to have become almost flat.

So far the Herreweghe and the Suzuki's renditions seem to me to have a lot of niceness about them as " opposed " to some works from Harnoncourt and Fasolis who could be considered with more pungency.

I'm still too green to be able to express their nuances with more precisions.

This list I'm going to offer is akin to showing off;

My current collection has for ...

SJP

- Forster - Gardiner - Parrott - Cleobury - Sorrell
- Richter - Kuijken - Brüggen - Suzuki II
- Jochum - Herreweghe I, II - Corboz II - Fasolis
- Gönnenewein - Kuentz - Harnoncourt II - Higginbottom

... of all these, only the Kuentz is very ordinary.

SMP

- Mengelberg - Gönnenwein - Suzuki
- Richter I - Herreweghe I, II - Harnoncourt III
- Klemperer - Brüggen - McCreesh

... of all these only the Klemperer's first listen hasn't been 'easy' ...

Well, thanks for the opportunity, now I'll grow up ;-)

Jack Botelho wrote (May 18, 2004):
[To Sw Anandgyan] Thanks for the updated report. Please don't grow up or else there will be no more fun with music ;-)

A quick welcome note to the new arrivals to this list. From a purusal of the archives you will notice that I (the moderator) have posted far too much here. Ideally more members will post to have a more 'democratic' list, but that takes overcoming shyness.

A long time ago I formed another list, where a member became upset that the list membership (with everyone's e-mail address) was not available. I asked this member why he was upset, and he told me he used these e-mail lists to carry on off-list
socialization with other members: and sure enough, even though I found out this person was a president of a music society and had every cd one could think of, he did not post anything to the list itself, even though he knew the answer to hundreds of questions posted to the group.

My point is: if you like the idea of a fun, "beginners" list, please post or else the only alternative is the other forums with hundreds of members of which only a small handful spend all their free time on the internet arguing endlessly with each other.

Jack B., Beginners Bach List Moderator

PS Thanks Dr Pike for the referral, and Dr Bright: sorry I could not access the music samples of E Fischer but will keep my eye out for this old recording of the Well Tempered Clavier.

Richard van Schelven wrote (May 18, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: < So far the Herreweghe and the Suzuki's renditions seem to me to have a lot of niceness about them as " opposed " to some works from Harnoncourt and Fasolis who could be considered with more pungency. >
Let me start to say hello. I am new here and am a Dutchman living in Ireland and a listener, every day, to Bachs music. Mainly organ and lute music (since I play the guitar).

It took me years to get into the Passion music and Cantatas. This year I am finally ready :) I listened for years, every year, to the SMP and have quite some recordings. The Herreweghe 1 I like the most together with the Koopman version. I also have some older performances, i.e. Jochem en Leonardt. The Leonardt I do not care for much. The Jochem is actually quite interesting. It is very, very slow.Actually I am planning a trip to Leipzig to hear the Tomaner next year over Easter :)

Looking forward to read some of your opinion.

Donald Satz wrote (May 18, 2004):
[To Richard van Schelven] Herreweghe I is my favorite as well. He gets me hooked right from the beginning of the work with that deep and heavy march-like trudge. Nobody does this better than Herreweghe.

Peter Bright wrote (May 18, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] Incidentally, the complete Herreweghe I is going for 7.99UKP here in Cambridge - I don't know whether it is just my local shop that sells at this price, but it looks like there may be some good deals around for this set right now...


Early Modern SMP’s

Sw Anandgyan wrote (May 17, 2004):
I have listened a second time to the Klemperer SMP and because of its slow tempo, I felt like I was suffocating.

OK, I exagerate but it wasn't happening for me ... yet.

I shall give it more chances, there may be something that doesn't register.

This post is more for a good word for the Gönnenwein SMP.

It does flow at a nicer pacing ( to my liking ), the orchestra and choir offer a sense of intimacy, chamber-like ...

All in all, a recording that is worth revisiting.

Granted I have little expertise, a true beginner for ever ;-)



Continue on Part 10


Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - L. Bernstein | BWV 244 - F. Brüggen | BWV 244 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - R. Chailly | BWV 244 - S. Cleobury | BWV 244 - J. Daus | BWV 244 - D. Fasolis | BWV 244 - W. Furtwängler | BWV 244 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 244 - W. Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin | BWV 244 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - R. Jacques | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 244 - S. Koussevitzky | BWV 244 - S. Kuijken | BWV 244 - F. Lehmann | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 244 - E.&R. Mauersberger | BWV 244 - H. Max | BWV 244 - P. McCreesh | BWV 244 - W. Mengelberg | BWV 244 - K. Münchinger | BWV 244 - R. Norrington | BWV 244 - G. Oberfrank | BWV 244 - S. Ozawa | BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 244 - G. Ramin | BWV 244 - S. Rattlr | BWV 244 - K. Richter | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H.J. Rotzsch | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - G. Solti | BWV 244 - C. Spering | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - B. Walter | BWV 244 - F. Werner | BWV 244 - M. Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [T.N. Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [U. Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [D. Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [J. Rifkin] | The Relationship between BWV 244a (Trauermusik) and BWV 244b (SMP Frühfassung) [T. Braatz] | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Early History (A Selective, Annotated Bibliography) [W. Hoffman] | Spiritual Sources of Bach's St. Matthew Passion [W. Hoffman] | Bach and the "Great Passion" [D.G. Lebut Jr.] | The Genesis of Bach's `Great Passion': 1724-29 [W. Hoffman] | Early Performances of Bach's SMP [T. Braatz]

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýMay 15, 2005 ý06:19:59