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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 Jos van Veldhoven

V-3

J.S. Bach: Matthäus-Passion

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

Jos van Veldhoven

Choir of the Nederlandse Bachvereniging & Boys’ Choir of St Bavo’s Cathedral, Haarlem / Baroque Orchestra of the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging

Tenor [Evangelist]: Gerd Türk; Bass [Jesus]: Geert Smits; Soprano: Johannette Zomer; Counter-tenor: Andreas Scholl; Tenor: Hans Jörg Mammel; Bass [Pilatus, Judas]: Peter Kooy
Organ: Siebe Henstra

Channel Classics

Mar 1997

3-CD / TT: 164:55

Recorded live at Musikcentrum Vredenburg Utrecht, Holland.
1st recording of Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 by J.v Veldhoven.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

V-4

J.S. Bach: St Matthew Passion

 

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

Jos van Veldhoven

Choir of the Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Kampen Boys Choir / Baroque Orchestra of the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging

Tenor [Evangelist]: Gerd Türk; Soprano: Amaryllis Dieltiens; Soprano: Siri Karoline Thornhill; Counter-tenor: Tim Mead; Counter-tenor: Matthew White; Tenor: Julian Podger; Tenor: Charles Daniels; Bass: Peter Harvey; Bass: Sebastian Noack;

Channel Classics CCSSA-32511

Apr 2010

2-SACD / TT: 165:30

Recorded live at the Church of Naarden, the Netherlands..
2nd recording of Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 by J.v Veldhoven.
Buy this album at:
2-SACD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

SMP by Jos van Veldhoven

Samuel Frederick wrote (November 14, 1999):
I've seen this CD in stores for what seems like years now. Has anyone heard it? I'd like to know what it's like.

Channel Classics (sorry don't have catalog number) 3CD
Cond. Jos van Veldhoven
Recorded live March 1997
Türk (Evangelist)
Geert Smits (Christ)
Johannette Zommer (soprano)
A. Scholl (alto)
Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor)
Kooy (bass)

I know Scholl, Kooy and Türk. Can anyone say anything about the other singers?

Wim Huisjes wrote (November 14, 1999):
Haven't heard this particular recording, but with Jos van Veldhoven you can hardly go wrong (judging by quite a few live concerts, TV and radio broadcasts):

Smits and Zomer should be fine.
Never heard of Mammel though.
About Scholl, Kooy, and Türk: well, I won't need to tell anybody anything.
Too bad the great Mertens isn't around also on this one!

Matthew Westphal wrote (November 15, 1999):
Mammel was pretty good; Zommer was lovely (as were, of course, Scholl and Kooy).

Everything about this performance is competent or better. But it never catches fire. I bought it at a second-hand shop a few months after its came out and sold it back before long -- it bored me. Again, it's not terrible by any means, but I just can't see taking up listening time and shelf space with it when I already have Brüggen, Herreweghe and Max. (I have this problem with a lot of Jos van Veldhoven's work in Bach.)

 

Netherlands Bach Society: the SMP 12x in concert

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2006):
The Netherlands Bach Society will be performing the St Matthew Passion twelve times between March 30th and April 15th this year. The performances are at seven different venues. Jos van Veldhoven is the conductor, and Nico van der Meel the evangelist.

Apparently these are almost sold out already, but here is the ticket info: http://www.bachvereniging.nl/concerten.php?filter_projectid=22&lang=en

For these performances, one of the continuo players informed me they plan to tune the two organs and the harpsichord according to my research. Wish I could be there to hear it! Is anyone here on-list planning to attend one of these performances, and able to report it later?

Thanks,

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (March 21, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] I used to sing in that choir. Unfortunately, Jos decided to follow Rifkin. The choir is reduced to TVPP + soloists, if I am not mistaken. I lost some interest in their performances. I will follow Dutch reviews tough, and can translate you eventual remarks on tuning.

 

Bach: St Matthew Passion - OVPP by Netherlands Bach Society

Johan van Veen wrote (April 11, 2006):
These weeks the Netherlands Bach Society performs the St Matthew Passion with one-voice-per-part.

A review on www.musica-dei-donum.net, Concert reviews

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Johan van Veen] Thank you for your interesting review. You surely were lucky to attend this concert. Do you know if, by any chance, this performance could be scheduled for a radio broadcast?

Johan van Veen wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] It will be broadcast Thursday, April 13, from 1 to 4 p.m. CET by Netherlands Radio (Radio 4).

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Johan van Veen] Is this the correct link for the streaming broadcast tomorrow? http://portal.omroep.nl/radio4

Thanks,

Johan van Veen wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] Yes, that's correct.

Iman de Zwarte wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] Yes. At this moment cantata BWV 4 "Christ lag in Todesban". Maybe something wrong with my internet, or is it an arrangement of a modern componist?

Matthew Westphal wrote (April 12, 2006):
[To Johan van Veen] Thanks very much for the informative report, Johan. I am looking forward to listening to the radio broadcast tomorrow!

I have one question. You describe the performance as one voice per part. Yet your review lists one ripieno singer in addition to the soloist on each part in each choir -- 16 singers in total (not counting the Evangelist -- I gather that van Veldhoven let him sit out the choruses so as to preserve his stamina for the duration of the tour). Doesn't that make it a two-voice-per-part performance -- and thus not quite all the way into the Rifkin/Parrott/Kuijken/McCreesh camp?

(There are ripieno parts for the St. John Passion -- it's a two-voice-per-part piece -- but none for the St. Matthew Passion, excepting those for the chorale melodies in the opening and closing choruses of Part One.)

I know -- Jos van Veldhoven is the person I should be asking about this. But did the program notes address this particular issue at all?

Thanks,

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 13, 2006):
[To Johan van Veen] Beautiful, dramatic, exciting; finished a few minutes ago. It had me in goosebumps and tears for parts of it, the way the harmonies and the drama interact. Some following along with the score, some just listening to it without looking at anything. Wow.

Neil Halliday wrote (April 13, 2006):
Personal impression of the internet stream:

The choruses and chorales sounded surprisingly large scale, as if there was a normal choir - I would not have guessed this was an OVPP version; but I notice from the score that both Coro 1 and Coro 2 are invariably employed together in the choruses and chorales, giving in effect 2VPP. BTW, I notice in the score of "Sind Blitze", where the fugal entries occur in the order BTAS and in unison, in both `choirs' 1 and 2 (there are 2x12 staves on each page!), first the alto and then the soprano lines are marked `Tutti' in each choir. What on earth can this mean, if there are only four singers in each choir, and the bass and tenor lines are not marked in this way!

I particularly liked the chorales for their clarity, flowing quality, and observance of the fermata, sounding as if sung by, as noted, multi-voice choir. The opening chorus was quite affecting, as was the closing chorus, though this was faster than I prefer. The great chorus that closes part 1 was definitely rushed; this lovely music needs to be savoured, not hurried through like this.

In general, the solo instrumentalists tended to be soft: eg, the solo violin in "Erbarme dich" was weak at times (and lack of pizzicato in the continuo, at least on the violone, was disappointing); the solo violin's rocking figure in "Gebt mir" was inarticulate because of a fast tempo, and lack of strength; the flute in "Aus Liebe" was too soft, sometimes being overshadowed by the oboes da caccia; the da gamba solo in "Come sweet cross" was very soft/unclear. In all these pieces the vocal soloists were excellent, but somehow there is an emotionless quality to these performances, as with "In the cool of the evening", where the strings were vague and un-affecting.

The big sound of "You who the temple breaks" was thrilling and engaging, and "Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand" had excellent stereo separation of the solo and tutti sections, and a nice tempo. "Der Vorhung im Tempel zerriss" was just ineffectual noise, not music; and "Mache dich" was fast and emotionless despite good singing; I took a walk outside at this point. I missed the amazing trill in all the instrumental parts on "My Jesus good night!" just before the commencement of the grand final chorus (Richter was great for bringing out such detail).

The dark harmony on "Eli, eli, lama" was poorly realised in its repeat "Das ist, Mein Gott, Mein Gott", with soft, unattractive timbre from the organ. Bach wanted some drama on "Das ist" where the modulating chord (from B flat minor to E flat minor!) is marked `forte', not obseved in this performance. As expected, the lack of variety in instrumental timbre in the secco recitatives resulted in tedium.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (April 13, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] I also found it quite beautiful, maybe a little uneven... But as I had a headache during the broadcast, I guess my attention wasn't optimal, and I'll listen to it again.

I particularly loved most of the arias (an extraordinary "Erbarme Dich", and a so moving "Aus Liebe" are those which stroke me the most) as well as the excellence of the instrumentalists, and the continuo (very often a theorbe - or a luth?, with the organ). Nico van der Meel was already one of my favourite Evangelists since the Brüggen recording, and his performance here was even higher.

The choral moments were less exciting to me, and didn't sound very OVPP... at least compared to the 2 X 4 singers of Mc Creesh's recording, or the Kuijken broadcast I recorded two years ago. (It rather was a 10-cough per part! I rarely heard such a profusion of audience coughers. Sometimes, it seemed as if the performance has been recorded in the middle of a sanatorium... It was so disturbing that I often wondered if it was worth keeping my recording on)..

Unfortunately, there will be no recording and release of a second SMP by Jos van Veldhoven, according to Channel Classics. We'll have to be satisfied with this broadcast (and its coughers).

But it was indeed a marvellous moment.

Iman de Zwarte wrote (April 13, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] It's possible to hear this concert until next thursday on: http://portal.omroep.nl/radio4
choose: "uitzending gemist?" in the right-meny, select: "Donderdagmiddagconcert (AVRO)" in the pop-up window.
Enjoy!

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 13, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>>I notice in the score of "Sind Blitze", where the fugal entries occur in the order BTAS and in unison, in both `choirs' 1 and 2 (there are 2x12 staves on each page!), first the alto and then the soprano lines are marked `Tutti' in each choir.<<
Re: SMP (last version) BWV 244/27b “Sind Blitze, sind Donner….”

In the NBA II/5 KB, p. 165, the editor Alfred Dürr explains that Bach, in his autograph score, saved himself from having to write out all the parts for 1st and 2nd chorus by combining both into a single score for both choral parts and marking them accordingly: “due Tenori” [which does not prove that only two tenors are singing this part] and ”Basso 1 Chori | Basso 2. Chori con [cordat]” [thus combining both parts on one staff. There are no “tutti” markings except one "tutti li Bassi in unisono".

The Farlau copy of the original/early version of the SMP (BWV 244b) also shows the score split into 2 Chori (voices and instruments), but there is an interesting difference there which the NBA editors override in their printed version of the Farlau copy:

At the bottom of the right-side page, Farlau begins with writing out only 8 ms for a single chorus [Chorus 2, which is not marked as might be assumed here because it is located at the bottom of the page, since the remaining top portion of this page is devoted to the end of mvt. 27a], then comes the page turn just as the alto part begins its fugal entry. On top of the next page (left side) the score opens up to include both Chorus 1 (at the top) and Chorus 2 (at the bottom), just the way it appears in the later version of the SMP. For this latter reason, the NBA editors reproduce the Farlau copy in such a way to make it agree with the later version and to make the logical assumption that Farlau ‘was cutting corners’ and trying not to waste paper by not designating the beginning of mvt. 27b as intended for both choruses and then introducing a page with both choruses fully scored (Chorus 1 on top, Chorus 2 below). A quick glance at the continuo and/or vocal parts for this mvt. would have yielded an indisputable answer. Despite all the many good reasons that speak for treating this as an oversight on Farlau’s part, there remains a nagging suspicion that this might be a record of how Bach may well have experimented with a different dramatic effect through the sudden escalation of volume of the fugal entry sequence, often reserved for the concertists with the ripienists entering later together with the full ensemble of instruments. Is it possible that Bach, rather than employing the very gradual increase of volume as the entries of the fugal subjects occur, might have wanted to accelerate the increase of volume levels dramatically as follows:

BWV 244b/27b

Fugal subject: ms. 1-8 (“Sind Blitzen, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden”)

Bass: 1st fugal entry (only from one Chorus with possibly only the Concertist singing) alone with bc (c. ms 1-4 or 65-69, if the measures are counted from the beginning of mvt. 27)

Tenor: 2nd fugal entry (only from one Chorus with possibly only the Concertist singing) is added to the above and we have only two vocal parts (possibly only two singers) from only one of the choruses performing through this section – along with the bc group, of course (c. ms 4-8 or upbeat to 70 -73)

[Now the page turn and the volume level increases dramatically]

Alto: 3rd fugal entry (now both Choruses which probably means the Concertists from both groups {without the soprano parts}– at this point we have to assume double the number of performers plus the fact that the fugal entry in the alto is strengthened as well from the help given by the 2nd or other chorus which has not been singing or performing up to this point – in essence, the number of singers has increased from a minimum of 2 to 6 singers/concertists (c. ms 8-12 or upbeat to 74 - 77)

Soprano: 4th fugal entry (c. ms 12-16 or upbeat to 78 - 81) (at this point all vocal parts from both choruses are active along with the bc group. This provides for the next higher level of volume with a minimum of 8 singers/concertists.

Oboe I + Violin I and Soprano from Chorus I - 5th fugal entry (c. ms 16-20 or upbeat to 82 - 85). The ripienists might also join in as tutti at this point, elevating this to the ultimate volume level reached, but Bach has decided to delay the finality of full volume until later by removing the Chorus-2 vocal parts at this point and reducing the notes played by oboes and violins in Chorus 2 until c. ms 30ff. (actually after ms 95ff if you count measures from the beginning of the mvt.) where full volume is attained.

Summary of the dramatic increases in volume levels of BWV 244/27b (“Sind Blitze, sind Donner”

1. Lowest volume level (certainly not soft, but limited by having only the bass(es) (or a single concertist) of one chorus + bc singing and playing.

2. Next higher level attained by adding a tenor part (a single concertist, perhaps) to the bass part already singing

3. Considerable jump in volume level as the alto part is added because now the bass, tenor and alto parts are doubled through the addition of the voices in the other or 2nd chorus

4. Another increase comparable to that attained in step 2 occurs when the ‘double’ soprano part (combined soprano parts from both choruses) is added to all the other parts that continue to sing and perform

5. A yet higher level of volume occurs when the soprano part of Chorus 1 in its highest range is joined by oboe 1 and violin 1 in providing the final, highest entry of the fugal subject as they are supported by all the other instruments from both choruses (only the 2nd chorus is not singing at this point)

6. Toward the end of this section (before the ‘grand pause’ or ‘fermata’ that precedes “Eröffne den feurigen Abgrund, o Hölle” full volume level is achieved with all performers in action

7. Perhaps only the held-chords on “Höl-“ of “Hölle” can match some the former intensity and power of the previous section as this final section moves away from the peak it had established and now appears to move down and away from it.

[I realize that many reasonable criticisms, including the NBA’s own reading of the Farlau copy, will disagree with #s 1,2,3 above which can be refuted with some strong arguments. I tender this observation simply as a point to ponder whether, just in case Farlau did copy correctly from Bach’s original version of the SMP and presupposing that Bach, in one of his musical experiments that he changed a decade later, Bach was trying out the feasibility of effecting volume changes in a more dramatic manner than in the final version where both choruses with both of their bc groups enter in combined fashion from the very beginning of the mvt. and in which version the entry of the alto parts is simply one more part added to those already singing and performing.]

Neil Halliday wrote (April 14, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
>"Bass: 1st fugal entry (only from one Chorus with possibly only the Concertist singing) alone with bc">
Thanks for the explanation of the, on the face of it, difficult to explain 'tutti' markings on the alto and soprano lines in my score.

However, when the two separate groups do eventually enter, you have the problem of where to bring in the continuo of group 2, if only one group (and only one bass vocalist)is playing/singing at the start, because the continuo parts of both groups are written from the start of bar 65.

It's interesting to notice that Bach was aiming for very dramtic antiphonal effects in this chorus, in which the instrumental parts, as well as the vocal parts, are alternately swapped between the two self-contained groups of instrumentalists/vocalists, an effect entirely missed in a performance I am listening to at the moment. (This 'ABC Classic FM' concert might be available as an internet stream later on: if so, I will post a link. Period style; brisk tempo of the opening chorus detracts from the emotional impact.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 14, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>>However, when the two separate groups do eventually enter, you have the problem of where to bring in the continuo of group 2, if only one group (and only one bass vocalist)is playing/singing at the start, because the continuo parts of both groups are written from the start of bar 65.<<
What is interesting about Farlau's copy of the SMP (Frühfassung) BWV 244b/27b beginning with measure/bar 65 is that even the NBA editors in their attempt to decipher Farlau-Bach's intentions see that Chorus 1 at the top of the page has all the vocal and instrumental parts which are duplicates of Chorus 2, *except* that there is *no* basso continuo for Chorus 1. This is indeed different! Looking at the facsimiles of these pages NBA II/5a pp. 34r ff., it is apparent that the bc for Chorus 1 is omitted entirely.

Johan van Veen wrote (April 14, 2006):
Matthew Westphal wrote:
< Thanks very much for the informative report, Johan. I am looking forward to listening to the radio broadcast tomorrow!
I have one question. You describe the performance as one voice per part. Yet your review lists one ripieno singer in addition to the soloist on each part in each choir -- 16 singers in total (not counting the Evangelist -- I gather that van Veldhoven let him sit out the choruses so as to preserve his stamina for the duration of the tour). Doesn't that make it a two-voice-per-part performance -- and thus not quite all the way into the Rifkin/Parrott/Kuijken/McCreesh camp? >
There was no explanation in the booklet, but in the season brochure of the Bach Society Jos van Veldhoven states that "it is an established fact that Bach usually performed his music (...) with no more than two or three singers/players per part". So it seems you are right that he doesn't follow Rifkin et al consistently. I didn't realise that in regard to the performance of the MP as I assumed the 8 ripieno singers were needed.

< (There are ripieno parts for the St. John Passion -- it's a two-voice-per-part piece -- but none for the St. Matthew Passion, excepting those for the chorale melodies in the opening and closing choruses of Part One.) >
But is it reasonable to assume the ripieno singers were only used in the first and last choruses of Part One and were doing nothing the rest of the time?

And the consequence of singing with just 8 singers would be that in the dialogues between Jesus and Peter or Pilate the bass would sing both parts. Wouldn't thatbe a little odd?

Matthew Westphal wrote (April 14, 2006):
Thanks for your response, Johan!

>>> in the season brochure of the Bach Society Jos van Veldhoven states that "it is an established fact that Bach usually performed his music (...) with no more than two or three singers/players per part". <<<
Ah. Not quite the Rifkin/Parrott/et al. position. Thanks for clarifying.

>>> But is it reasonable to assume the ripieno singers were only used in the first and last choruses of Part One and were doing nothing the rest of the time? <<<
Well, that has been the usual modern practice with the St. Matthew Passion for as long as I can remember, and no one seems to have thought it unusual. In any case, the "Soprano in ripieno" parts contain no music other than those two chorale melodies.

>>> And the consequence of singing with just 8 singers would be that in the dialogues between Jesus and Peter or Pilate the bass would sing both parts. Wouldn't that be a little odd? <<<
Yes, that would be odd. But according to one of the tables in Parrott's book The Essential Bach Choir, while all the music for Jesus is written in part copied for the Bass in Choir I (and none of the dialogue for any of the characters is included in the bass part for Choir II), there are two extra, separate vocal parts copied out for basses. One contains the music for Judas and Pontifex (priest) 1; the other contains the music for Peter, Caiaphas, Pontifex 2 and Pilate. In both of those parts, all of the other movements are explicitly marked "tacet."

Is it reasonable to assume that those basses sang only those few recitatives and ariosos and nothing else? I don't know, but it's what Bach's performng parts indicate. (I believe that Parrott speculates that those parts, which are accompanied only by continuo, might have been sung by instrumentalists in the orchestra -- and speculation seems to be all one can do on this particular question.)

Johan, have you read The Essential Bach Choir? I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in Bach's vocal music.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 14, 2006):
< (...) But according to one of the tables in Parrott's book The Essential Bach Choir, while all the music for Jesus is written in part copied for the Bass in Choir I (and none of the dialogue for any of the characters is included in the bass part for Choir II), there are two extra, separate vocal parts copied out for basses. One contains the music for Judas and Pontifex (priest) 1; the other contains the music for Peter, Caiaphas, Pontifex 2 and Pilate. In both of those parts, all of the other movements are explicitly marked "tacet."
Is it reasonable to assume that those basses sang only those few recitatives and ariosos and nothing else? I don't know, but it's what Bach's performng parts indicate. (I believe that Parrott speculates that those parts, which are accompanied only by continuo, might have been sung by instrumentalists in the orchestra -- and speculation seems to be all one can do on this particular question.) >
Let me inject one idea into this: "tacet" might simply mean that *those parts* (not necessarily *those singers*) are not otherwise employed. Set down those pieces of paper and use something else, during the tacet parts. What *those singers* might be doing at other moments, we don't know.

(I do this sort of thing quite a bit as a keyboard player, in big works: play part of the performance from one book or printed/handwritten part, but pick up a different edition or different handwritten part to splice in a couple of movements from a different reading, or whatever. The part's tacet while the other part is in use; but I'm not tacet at all as the musician! Example: in an annual "Messiah" I play, I always have to pop the Novello book temporarily onto the desk, only to play the "Pastoral Symphony" movement, and otherwise that book is on the floor the whole time.)

I agree with you, excellent book by Parrott.

Sticking with the St Matthew Passion: is the viola da gamba player just supposed to sit there the whole time, or make a surreptitious entrance, just to play his big solo? Or can he play along, either on vdg or lute/theorbo or whatever else he can play, reading off some other part during the moments when the vdg solo part is marked "tacet"? (Likewise the St John in the spots where the lute part isn't explicit; play something else anyway, to stay busy? Comp along like a normal intelligent continuo player, outside the obbligato solo bits?)

B minor mass, same argument: should the corno da caccia player do nothing *but* play the "Quoniam", or can he pick up a trumpet or whatever else he can play, reading from a different part at the moment? "Tacet" in the c-da-c part doesn't mean anything one way or the other, I believe, about any other abilities or employment he might have during the performance.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 14, 2006):
< B minor mass, same argument: should the corno da caccia player do nothing *but* play the "Quoniam", or can he pick up a trumpet or whatever else he can play, reading from a different part at the moment? "Tacet" in the c-da-c part doesn't mean anything one way or the other, I believe, about any other abilities or employment he might have during the performance. >
p.s. Another example of same: orchestral percussion players. Same musician can handle marimba, triangle, and cymbals etc, all during the same piece (reading from three different parts on the stand, having "tacet" at various points), if the composer has been kind to such a possibility.

Johan van Veen wrote (April 14, 2006):
Matthew Westphal wrote:
< Thanks for your response, Johan! >
>>> in the season brochure of the Bach Society Jos van Veldhoven states that "it is an established fact that Bach usually performed his music (...) with no more than two or three singers/players per part". > <<<
< Ah. Not quite the Rifkin/Parrott/et al. position. Thanks for clarifying. >

>>> But is it reasonable to assume the ripieno singers were only used in the first and last choruses of Part One and were doing nothing the rest of the time? <<<
< Well, that has been the usual modern practice with the St. Matthew Passion for as long as I can remember, and no one seems to have thought it unusual. In any case, the "Soprano in ripieno" parts contain no music other than those two chorale melodies. >
Yes, but isn't it reasonable to assume that for the soprano in ripieno Bach used young and relatively inexperienced singers? That could explain why they have little to do and why their parts are relatively simple. But expecting adult - and assumedly experienced - singers to sit (or stand) doing nothing for most of the time is another matter.

>>> And the consequence of singing with just 8 singers would be that in the dialogues between Jesus and Peter or Pilate the bass would sing both parts. Wouldn't that be a little odd? <<<
< Yes, that would be odd. But according to one of the tables in Parrott's book The Essential Bach Choir, while all the music for Jesus is written in part copied for the Bass in Choir I (and none of the dialogue for any of the characters is included in the bass part for Choir II), there are two extra, separate vocal parts copied out for basses. One contains the music for Judas and Pontifex (priest) 1; the other contains the music for Peter, Caiaphas, Pontifex 2 and Pilate. In both of those parts, all of the other movements are explicitly marked "tacet."
Is it reasonable to assume that those basses sang only those few recitatives and ariosos and nothing else? I don't know, but it's what Bach's performng parts indicate. (I believe that Parrott speculates that those parts, which are accompanied only by continuo, might have been sung by instrumentalists in the orchestra -- and speculation seems to be all one can do on this particular question.) >
I think it is an established fact that in Bach's time there were still musicians - as it was quite usual in the 17th century - who played more than one instrument. So I can imagine some players may have been able to sing appropriately (or the other way round: some singers may have been able to play an instrument).

< Johan, have you read The Bach Choir? I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in Bach's vocal music. >
Yes, I have read it a couple of years ago, but I don't have it. I'm going to purchase it if I can find a second-hand copy at a reasonable price.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 14, 2006):
Iman de Zwarte wrote:
< It's possible to hear this concert until next thursday on: http://portal.omroep.nl/radio4
choose: "uitzending gemist?" in the right-meny, select: "Donderdagmiddagconcert (AVRO)" in the pop-up window. Enjoy! >
I have not listened to this performance but have read very divergent (one from another) responses by the few who have.

I read recently Uri Golomb's review article of two such performances:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/SMP-Golomb.htm
neither of which I have heard.

It would be interesting to hear his views on the present performance (with the understanding that he did not attend this one). It might be a truism, but worth repeating anyway, that an intention to carry out a scholarly
theory does not a "wonderful" performance make of either this work or of any musical work.

Raymond Joly wrote (April 15, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] It might be a string of truisms, but worth repeating anyway, that we will have divergent responses to a perfomance as long as
1) the responders do not agree (in truth, not just verbally) on what makes a performance valuable,
2) are not equally competent to compare the performance with the agreed criteria,
3) were not listening in the same circumstances (live/broadcast, before lunch and after, with/without liking/dislike for the performers due to previous acquaintance, in a euphoric/dysphoric state of mind, age, sex, etc.),
4) have not had the opportunity of listening to the performance for, let us say, half a dozen times in order to compensate minimally for the above mentioned factors.

 

Bach Pilgrimage

Jens F. Laurson wrote (March 27, 2008):
The little Dutch medieval fortress town of Naarden, completely surrounded by a wall and moat, was the first stop of a Bach/Wagner Pilgrimage I have been privileged to take this year, and it offered a highlight unlikely to be topped by successive Matthew Passions this year.

Since 1921 the Matthew Passion is performed at the Grote Kerk ("Great", or "Large Church") in Naarden. The Nederlandse Bachvereniging is responsible for the performance. That name and their current director Jos van Veldhoven are familiar to me from their recordings on Channel Classics. Their Mass in B-minor (BWV 232) from last year not only made it onto my best-of-2007 list but has quickly become a favorite version.

High expectations were hardly disappointed. While I was not as moved and grabbed as I always hoped for, that might have been due to recent overexposure. It was in any case so good - so exceptionally good - that the delight it brought made up fully for this.

Veldhoven probably came as close to perfection as possible in this - and impression only reinforced by subsequent performances of the Concertgebouw (Ivan Fischer), Combattimento Amsterdam (Jan Willem de
Vriend), and KlangVerwaltung Munchen (Guttenberg).

Has anyone else been one of these traditional performances lately?

 

SMP: van Veldhoven

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 10, 2011):
Sarah McEvoy wrote:
< I am also the webmaster of the Charles Daniels Society, and I think I've now managed to accumulate the overwhelming majority of the Bach that Charles has recorded. :-) >
Welcome, Sarah! The newest Daniels Bach recording that I'm aware of is the St Matthew Passion that was released about a month ago: Jos van Veldhoven conducting. It is drawn from the Netherlands Bach Society's annual series of live performances. Brilliant performance that plays up the drama of the piece.

 

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]

Jos van Veldhoven: Short Biography | Nederlandse Bachvereniging | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | | BWV 245 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 248 - J.v. Veldhoven

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: ýJune 28, 2011 ý10:50:41