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Bernstein Century - Bach: St. Matthew Passion / NYPO, et al

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244
>Bernstein, Leonard : Leonard Bernstein discusses material & structure in Bach's St. Matthew Passion (Lecture)
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This abridged version of Bach's St. Matthew Passion originated with some New York Philharmonic subscription concerts at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 1962. Although the event received mixed reviews, it was decided that the interpretation be recorded while it was still fresh. This is the first appearance of this performace on CD.

Notes & Reviews:

This disc includes a recording of Leonard Bernstein discussing the musical and dramatic structure of the St. Matthew Passion.

The 'Saint Matthew Passion' represents the culmination of Bach's achievement as a church musician and commands a reverence and respect almost without parallel in western sacred music. A dramatic, quasi-operatic oratorio on an epic scale, it calls for six soloists, two choirs, two orchestras and organs, combining arias, recitatives, chorales and concertato passages united by the imposing central religious theme.

This recording documents an unusual performance from 1962 of an abridged English language version. While one might not think of Leonard Bernstein as a likely conductor of this material, he did perform nearly all the great sacred choral works from Haydn onward, recorded a pretty good 'Messiah' and indeed, brings a lot to this music. The orchestra is big but tempos are not unduly cumbersome and rhythmic detail, not to mention much of the beautiful woodwind writing, comes freshly to the fore. What really is winning is the sense of occasion and theatricality--this is Bernstein, after all--and the recitatives being sung in English will add to the immediacy of the communication for many listeners.


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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244
  • Performers: Adele Addison (Soprano); Betty Allen (Mezzo Soprano); Donald Bell (Bass Baritone); Donaldson Bell (Bass Baritone); Engelbert Brenner (Oboe d'amore); Charles Bressler (Tenor); John Corigliano (Violin); Albert Goltzer (Oboe d'amore); Harold Gomberg (Oboe); Leonid Hambro (Harpsichord); David Lloyd (Tenor); Bruce Prince-Joseph (Organ); Carlo Raviola (Double Bass); Carl Stern (Cello); William Wildermann (Bass); John Wummer (Flute)
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Ensemble: Collegiate Chorale
  • Running Time: 119 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1736
  • Language: English
  • Studio/Live: Studio

>Bernstein, Leonard : Leonard Bernstein discusses material & structure in Bach's St. Matthew Passion (Lecture)
  • Performer: Leonard Bernstein (Piano)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern