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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

Conducted by Andrew Parrott

Recording

Not release yet.

New York Times Review: Andrew Parrot & New York Collegium: BWV 244

Teri Noel Towe wrote (March 6, 2005):
Click here: The New York Times > Arts > Music > Music Review | 'St. Matthew Passion': When Being in the Chorus Carries a Big R

March 5, 2005 MUSIC REVIEW | 'ST. MATTHEW PASSION'

When Being in the Chorus Carries a Big Responsibility

By JAMES R. OESTREICH

To judge from the streams of listeners fleeing the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola at intermission on Thursday, you might have thought that the culprit was Schoenberg. Instead, this was an evening of Bach: one of the most beloved works in Western music, the "St. Matthew Passion," performed by Andrew Parrott and the New York Collegium.

In fairness, many more listeners stayed to the end and applauded loudly. Still, as much as one might like to dismiss the defectors sniffily as narrow-minded and wrongheaded, matters were not so simple.

Bach's choral works have been a topic of hot debate since 1981, when the musicologist Joshua Rifkin proposed that Bach would typically have performed them with a single voice to a part: thus, a chorus made up of the four soloists or, as in the "St. Matthew Passion," a double chorus of eight. That argument has gained currency in recent years, largely through the efforts of Mr. Parrott in his performances and his book "The Essential Bach Choir."

As music director of the New York Collegium, Mr. Parrott applied his minimalizing notions three years ago to Bach's "St. John Passion," a work that has long been controversial anyway for what some see as anti-Semitism in its text. But the "St. Matthew" is as canonic as music gets, and it has come down to us through performances monumental in stature, nowhere more so than in its imposing opening chorus.

Listeners unburdened by musicological agendas expect a certain grandeur. And though the collegium addressed the matter in its program notes and, presumably, in a preconcert lecture, many in the audience must have wondered where the "chorus" was, and been discomfited by what they heard.

It might have been useful if Mr. Parrott had offered the briefest of explanations beforehand. He undoubtedly feels that the performance should speak for itself, and to an extent, he is right. But this performance failed to buttress the case he makes persuasively on paper.

In that opening chorus, with the eight soloists singing eight different parts (and three women replacing the usual boys' choir), you could usually tell that they were singing, but it was often impossible to tell what they were singing, in terms of melodic line or text.

True, the variables were many, including the church's acoustics (highly reverberant), the strength and stamina of the performers (iffy) and the sheer quality of the performance (uneven). Many instances of queasy intonation and slippery ensemble from both singers and players did not help.

The evening's satisfactions came mostly from individual performances, especially that of the bass Thomas Meglioranza, who sang beautifully and warmly as Jesus. Marc Molomot, a tenor, was nothing if not game, carrying a load of arias and choruses in addition to the taxing role of the Evangelist.

You have to hope that the brave singers, after a repeat performance last night, are sleeping long and hard this morning.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 7, 2005):
[To Teri Noel Towe] It just goes to show that if you are going to present OVPP Bach choruses, then you need absolutely the finest singers and players; the lack of the expected traditional "grandeur" must be countered by breathtaking musicianship.

Judging from the reviewer's report, the New York Collegium did not meet that standard.

In any case, if I were directing a performance of the SMP, I would regard myself a failure if even one patron (from disappointment) abandoned the work at intermission; to have "streams of listeners fleeing the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola at intermission" I would regard as an unmitigated disaster.

Boyd Pehrson wrote (March 7, 2005):
[To Neil Halliday] I have found the OVPP performances of J.S. Bach Cantatas and Passions to be boring and monotonous. After a while I too would run out the door, even at home. The music was never designed to be sung that way.

Charlie Ervin McCarn wrote (March 11, 2005):
Streams of listeners?

< I would regard myself a failure if even one patron (from disappointment) abandoned the work at intermission; to have "streams of listeners fleeing the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola at intermission" I would regard as an unmitigated disaster. >
A friend of mine in New York told me that "streams of listeners" is exaggerated. He also told me that the reviewer, James Oestreich, was an early supporter of Rifkin but now has backed away from it. If I understand my friend accurately, one of the major outside contributors of articles about Bach to the Times is George Stauffer, who is hostile to the one player and singer to each part concept.


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]

Andrew Parrott: Short Biography | Taverner Consort & Players | Recordings | General Discussions | BWV 244 - Parrott | BWV 245 - Parrott | Book – The Essential Bach Choir – Parrott

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

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Last update: ýMarch 15, 2005 ý21:02:30