No, I haven’t disappeared
More than 2 weeks without a blog post. Shame on me. In my defense, I was first sick and then crazily busy at work. But this cannot go on!
I’ll get back to writing as of now, and still target at least two posts per week. So check back regularly, or even better, subscribe!
I’ve already written about the St Matthew Passion some weeks ago here.
In the meantime, I had the extreme pleasure of hearing this masterpiece live in Lucerne, and played by none less than the magnificent Monteverdi Choir lead by Gardiner! To be fair, I haven’t always been convinced by some of Gardiners latest releases (especially this one), but I still consider him an absolute legend for Bach.
And I wasn’t disappointed. I wanted to write a review of this concert, but Sarah Bartschelet in her review on Backtrack has already done such an excellent job, that I just have to add that while Mark Padmore as Evangelist was indeed sublime, an absolute highlight for me was the counter-tenor Reginald Mobley, and Michael Niesemann on the first oboe. Both received standing ovations from the more than usually enthusiastic Swiss audience.
St John Passion BWV245
The St John passion is often considered the “little brother” of the St Matthew Passion. I’d be hard pressed to say which one I prefer, both are absolute masterpieces.
In any case, why choose?
Philippe Pierlot – Ricercar Consort (Mirare 2011)
Again, there is no shortage of good versions available. I could have easily written about the Dunedin Consort again, Suzuki’s version is also fantastic, and Herreweghe again is reliable as usual.
However, let me write here about a different version which I particularly like. I first came across Philippe Pierlot in his beautiful album of the Bach Christmas cantatas (reviewed here).
What is special about this recording is the lightness of the playing and singing. Obviously, this is an extremely tragic subject (even if you’re not Christian), but Pierlot and his ensemble give us a very clean and balanced version. It is never too heavy or overloaded. Furthermore, the soloists all do an excellent job, particularly Matthias Vieweg as Jesus.
If you don’t speak German, I strongly recommend you follow the booklet to be able to follow the story. It is really amazing how Bach was able to match the atmosphere of every single moment of this tragic story of treason and suffering.
This recording was shortlisted for Gramophone’s Baroque Vocal album of the year.
My rating: 5 stars
You can find it here (Qobuz) or here (Prestoclassical)