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Thread: Favourite St John Passion

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traverso View Post


    Small is beautiful,I don't argue with that but what is wrong with a choir and I do not referring to the "Fischer Chore "
    I've seen this splendid ensemble twice - both times conducting for baroque opera. But I don't have a recording of them with Bach.

    This performance of their B Minor Mass sounds beautifully translucent and articulate but a bit low-energy:

    Last edited by Christabel; Apr-28-2018 at 23:53.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSBach85 View Post
    I got this recording yesterday:

    [...]

    If someone knows a book or a reference or has further information of 1725's version I would appreciate if can share it with me.
    The Herreweghe 1725 recording is from 2001, and, given what was already known about the various versions, the booklet is shamefully short and non-informative. So, 'no love lost' there.

    I think you'll have to bear in mind that there is NO complete autograph/copy of the 1724 version. The first Herreweghe recording isn't the 1724 version, but a mixture from the versions of 1724, 1739 and 1749. This is also the version published in the Neue Bach Ausgabe.

    Only 2 complete versions have completely survived: the 1725 and 1749 ones.

    Bach composed the SJP for Good Friday in 1724. What has remained from that version, shows that, among other things, there were no traverso flutes; the opening choir ("Herr, unser Herrscher") was different; the denial by Petrus was taken from the St. Matthew Gospel and the 'earthquake' passage by the Evangelist was from the St. Mark Gospel.

    In 1725, Bach was in the middle of his so-called 'chorale cantata year', and probably therefore the opening choir was replaced by the great Choralbearbeitung "O Mensch, bewein dein' Sünde groß". Besides that, a few arias and choruses were either replaced or added. The oddest add-on was the aria for bass (with chorus) "Himmel reiße, Welt erbebe", immediately after the chorale "Wer hat dich so geschlagen?". The lyrics of this added aria, which refer to the Golgotha earthquake, do not correspond with the actual action.
    The closing chorale of the passion was replaced by another large chorale arrangement: "Christe, du Lamm Gottes" (from BWV 23).
    Bach also changed the 'earthquake' passage by composing a new Evangelist part with a passage from the St. Matthew Gospel.
    Many changes, replacements and add-ons were (maybe maybe maybe ) taken from a now lost Passion that Bach had composed in Weimar (performed in Gotha 1717).
    Apart from all this, the instrumentation of the 1725 performance was different from the 1724 version (a.o. added flutes).

    For a third performance of the SJP, in 1728 or 1732, Bach returned to the 1724 version, with changed instrumentation, and without the add-ons from the St. Matthew Gospel. Instead of the earthquake passage, an instrumental Sinfonia (now lost) was performed.

    In 1739, Bach began to pen down a fair copy of the SJP, but his handwriting breaks off after no. 10, probably because the town council had told him that there would be no performance of a large passion that year.

    In 1749, Bach returned for the final time to the SJP. Again, the base was the 1724 version, with, again, several changes in instrumentation. The basso continuo section was expaned with an extra harpsichord and with a contra-bassoon. He also changed the lyrics of some of the arias, and some passages appear to be recomposed (f.i. for the Evangelist, in the alto aria "Von den Stricken meiner Sünden", et al).

    I kept this 'story' as short as possible... and there are of course uncertainties concerning the versions, mainly because only 2 of them entirely survived. I'm too lazy to check everything out, but IIRC the booklet of the Suzuki 1749 recording (BIS) is probably the most informative about each and every version. It's a good performance, too, so my advice would be: buy that one, read the booklet, correct all the mistakes I made in this posting, and... enjoy the music!


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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSBach85 View Post
    I got this recording yesterday:



    I am listening to it right now. In my opinion, I find it a fine performance of the 1725 version of the St John Passion. I also own the older recording of 1724 version recorded in 1988 thanks to Reichstag aus LICHT recommendation and I prefer this one because in 1725's version Herr, unser Herrscher chorus is missing. But in this 1725 recording I like most of the soloists (Sibylla Rubens, Andreas Scholl, Mark Padmore), the choir and orchestra are excellent, and conducting is well-balanced. However, I purchased it used and unfortunately booklet is missing. If someone knows a book or a reference or has further information of 1725's version I would appreciate if can share it with me.
    As Marc says the booklet is inadequate so apart from the text not a great loss. Gardiner's recording has a slightly more informative booklet, but not much. However, Gardiner's book 'Music in the Castle of Heaven' has a substantial chapter (over 50 pages) on the 'First Passion'.

  5. #34
    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biffo View Post
    As Marc says the booklet is inadequate so apart from the text not a great loss. Gardiner's recording has a slightly more informative booklet, but not much. However, Gardiner's book 'Music in the Castle of Heaven' has a substantial chapter (over 50 pages) on the 'First Passion'.
    True, but that's more an exegesis/interpretation of the work, without too much explanation about the various versions.

    Btw, here's the text of the 1725 version (with English translation).

    http://emmanuelmusic.org/notes_trans.../t_bwv245a.htm

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    Senior Member JSBach85's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. I just read the Suzuki's booklet notes and seems to be very informative of each version. Suzuki performs 1749 version that has also been recorded by other conductors such as Konrad Junghanel and René Jacobs.

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    I have several recordings that I listen to regularly, but my absolute favorite thus far is the Berlin Philharmonic's staging or ritualization of the Passion. There are no words that can adequately describe what makes this masterpiece one of the most amazing things I've ever encountered in my life, but just to give an idea.

    Many very thoughtful and wise people brain- and body-stormed together to bring the music into three-dimensions. They realized that the work is timeless and extremely contemporary and worked together to try and convey the contemporaneity through the combinations of bodies, voices and instruments. They were well-aware of the majority of the performance history of the work and did not limit themselves to a single performance style: i.e., HIP versus all other styles, so they used particular instruments based on the meanings they wanted to emphasize. The singers obviously put their body and souls into the music they were performing. Mark Padmore is EXTRAORDINARY as the evangelist. Magdalena Kozena's expressions and powerful voice are magnificent. Christian Gerhaher is the most amazing Pontious Pilate--his dynamic range is just perfect for Pilate's music; and the Berlin Philharmonic is THE Berlin Philarhmonic.

    The concert isn't free, but it is priceless to me.

    www.digitalconcerthall.com Under Concerts, search Composer; then under Conductors, Simon Rattle; then scroll down to the St. John Passion.

    Here are two YouTube clips, but they just don't even come close to the power of this performance:

    Re/ those "infamous" Jewish Choruses, they represent any and all of us when we trample, mock, harm each other:



    Gerhaher sings in the place of every human being who ever lived:


  8. #37
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    This is the only version I own, and most excellent it is. However the work is not my favourite cup of tea so I haven't yet felt the need to acquire any other versions:

    stj.jpg

  9. #38
    Senior Member JSBach85's Avatar
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    My last purchase of St John Passion BWV 245:

    Johannes-Passion - Kuijken/La Petite Bande (Challenge Classics)


    I wanted to get another OVPP version since I like the clarity and the balance between instruments and voices with smaller/chamber choir that seems to fit well with passions. Kuijken gives a good academic conducting but this recording lacks of luminosity, contrast and is a little plain. The vocal forces are correct but an OVPP recording demands better soloists, however I would recommend this recording to those committed to Rifkin's OVPP theory for Bach sacred vocal works.

    At the time I own 14 recordings split by OVPP and VVPP practices:

    OVPP recordings:

    Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot (Mirare)
    Cantus Cölln - Konrad Junghänel (Accent)
    Dunedin Consort & Players - John Butt (Linn Records)
    Taverner Consort & Players - Andrew Parrott (Virgin 2x1)
    La Petite Bande - Sigiswald Kuijken (Challenge Classics)

    VVPP recordings:

    Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra - Ton Koopman (Erato, 1st recording)
    Concentus Musicus Wien - Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Teldec, 3rd recording)
    Bach Collegium Japan - Masaaki Suzuki (BIS)
    The Netherlands Bach Society - Jos van Veldhoven (Channel Classics)
    English Baroque Soloists - John Eliot Gardiner (1st recording Archiv Produktion)
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Stephen Layton (Hyperion records)
    La Chapelle Rhenane - Benoit Haller (Zig-Zag Territoires)
    Orchestre de la Chapelle Royale Paris/Collegium Vocale Gent - Philippe Herreweghe Version 1724 (Harmonia Mundi)
    Collegium Vocale Gent - Philippe Herreweghe Version 1725 (Harmonia Mundi)

    My favourite recordings remains Suzuki, Veldhoven, Pierlot, Harnoncourt 3rd.

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  11. #39
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Here's one that I'm spinning currently (on CD!) ...
    R-13643825-1558160203-7284.jpeg.jpg
    Notes
    Total Time: CD1 65:23, CD2 51:30
    (p) 1971 Teldec Schallplatten GmbH
    (c) 1987 Teldec Schallplatten GmbH - Heußweg 25 • 2000 Hamburg 20.
    Printed in West Germany

    However, discogs.com reports a release as early as 1966. Anyone confirm this?

  12. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSBach85 View Post

    OVPP recordings:

    Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot (Mirare)
    Cantus Cölln - Konrad Junghänel (Accent)
    Dunedin Consort & Players - John Butt (Linn Records)
    Taverner Consort & Players - Andrew Parrott (Virgin 2x1)
    La Petite Bande - Sigiswald Kuijken (Challenge Classics)
    I like the Pierlot and Parrott recordings very much, however my favourite is John Butt's - primarily because he tries to reconstruct a full performance, including congregational hymns, sermons and organ music. There's a fantastic organ prelude by Buxtehude which leads dramatically into the opening chorus of the Passion itself, with startling effect.

    Edit: I just noticed that I said much the same in a post two years ago, so apologies for repeating myself! Just goes to show that I still enjoy the Dunedin Consort's recording, I suppose
    Last edited by Reichstag aus LICHT; Jan-07-2020 at 11:18.

  13. #41
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    Britten's recording is a great one. I also have and greatly enjoy Pierlot, Higginbottom and Suzuki.

  14. #42
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post


    I'm very happy with the Suzuki.
    I am a fan of his Bach.
    Suzuki is a devote Lutheran so feels he has a connection to Bach. This is very good indeed

  15. #43
    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13hm13 View Post
    Here's one that I'm spinning currently (on CD!) ...
    R-13643825-1558160203-7284.jpeg.jpg
    Notes
    Total Time: CD1 65:23, CD2 51:30
    (p) 1971 Teldec Schallplatten GmbH
    (c) 1987 Teldec Schallplatten GmbH - Heußweg 25 • 2000 Hamburg 20.
    Printed in West Germany

    However, discogs.com reports a release as early as 1966. Anyone confirm this?
    Recorded in April 1965. Hans Gillesberger was actually the conductor, but his assistant Harnoncourt (who was the conductor of Concentus Musicus Wien) and his vision/approach had a huge influence. As had, without a doubt, Gustav Leonhardt, who was the continuo leader in the arias and the recitatives.
    First issue in 1966 (I think).
    2nd issue in 1971 (this is the vinyl box that I have).
    1987 would be the first issue on compact disc.

    Here's a discussion about recording date, issue date and who was actually the conductor, including a message from Gillesberger's grandson:
    https://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/...llesberger.htm
    Last edited by Marc; Mar-26-2020 at 09:20.

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