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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Werner Gura, Johannes Weisser, Sunhae Im, Christina Roterberg, Bernarda Fink, Topi Lehitpuu, Arttu Kataja. Jacobs

Notes & Reviews:

Previously released as a deluxe Hybrid SACD with a bonus DVD, René Jacobs's acclaimed recording of the Bach St. Matthew Passion is now available as a standard CD at a special price. Jacobs leads a cast of superb soloists, backed by the RIAS Kammerchor and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, in a recording that focuses on the paradox of a drama that is at once intimate, theatrical, and collective. As always, there are interpretive surprises, but the recording's emotional and spiritual intensity is a constant from beginning to end.

Choir & Organ, March/April 2014
The recording is excellent, with committed performances from soloists and period instrumentalists.

The Times, 18th October 2013
The novelty lies in Jacobs' games with acoustics and space in his studio location in Berlin...this spatial separation keeps you listening intently and listening afresh. Jacobs's Passion is intimate, dramatic, conducted with audible love...Gnra's Evangelist makes a compelling guide; Fink is most eloquent, with Johannes Weiss solid as Jesus.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2013
Jacobs has a magnificent vocal presence of soloists from Choir I - led by the polished and increasinly believable Evangelist of Werner Gnra...and a Christus in Johannes Weisser who is intensely human, even febrile as he confronts the terrible events one by one...Jacobs's attention to texture and matters of accentuation is what defines his most compelling short-term characterisation.

The Guardian, 21st November 2013
A performance of overwhelming sincerity, it's not without controversy...Not everyone will care for it, and some might also be surprised its sensuous immediacy and by Jacobs's ornate way with the recitatives. But the mix of drama and meditation is breathtakingly sustained and the choral singing astonishing in its beauty.

Sunday Times, 15th December 2013
Despite uneven casting of the soloists - Sunhae Im's thin, wiry soprano is not to my taste - this is essential listening, not only for Jacobs's spatial innovations, but for Werner Gnra's gripping Evangelist and Johannes Weisser's youthful, unsanctimonious Christ.

The Independent, 11th October 2013
Care is taken to represent the distance between the choirs, along with the parts played and sung from the "swallow's nest gallery"...The results are magnificent, particularly the choral blend in "Kommt, ihr T÷chter, helft mir klagen" and "Ich will hier bei dir stehen"... this will surely be the spatially definitive version.


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