Notes & Reviews:
Bach's great choral masterpiece, the St. Matthew Passion, has been at the heart of René Jacobs' musical career since he was a child. As a vocalist, first as a boy soprano in Ghent then as a countertenor soloist in adulthood, Jacobs has been steeped in the work's rich tradition (and the historically-informed approaches of several famous musicologist-conductors) for his whole life. In a defining moment that comes at the peak of his musical powers, the great vocalist, conductor and scholar René Jacobs leads a cast of superb soloists, backed by the RIAS-Kammerchor and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, in a recording of the St. Matthew Passion that will doubtless stand as one of the finest made. Offered in surround-sound on Hybrid SACD, this deluxe, audiophile quality set from harmonia mundi (which also includes a bonus 'making-of' DVD) does full justice to the remarkable performance by these stellar artists. Jacobs' vision of the work focuses on the paradox of a drama that is at once intimate, theatrical, and collective. As always, there are interpretive surprises, but what will strike listeners most is the recording's searing emotional intensity that is a constant from beginning to end.
American Record Guide, January/February 2014
This recording is a tremendous level of scholarship and hard work, and I suspect everyone interested in the history of this work. The RIAS choir is a first-rank group, and the period orchestra is just as fine. Gura is as good an Evangelist as we hear today, and Johannes Weisser's Jesus is well sung. Jacobs knows the work thoroughly, having begun as a youth in Ghent, continuing as a noted Evangelist on two recordings, and now as conductor.
Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (08/2013-09/2012).
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Works DetailsBach, Johann Sebastian : Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244
- Conductor: René Jacobs
- Ensemble: Staats-und Domchor Berlin, RIAS-Kammerchor
- Running Time: 127 min. 41 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Written: 1736