BACH: St. Matthew Passion, excerpts – Bach Collegium Japan/ Masaaki Suzuki/ Gerd Turk, tenor/ Pter Kooij, bass/Nancy Argenta, soprano/ Robin Blaze, counter-tenor/ Makoto Sakurada, tenor/ Chiyuki Urano, bass. – BIS

by | Jan 28, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BACH:  St. Matthew Passion, excerpts – Bach Collegium Japan/ Masaaki Suzuki/ Gerd Turk, tenor/ Pter Kooij, bass/Nancy Argenta, soprano/ Robin Blaze, counter-tenor/ Makoto Sakurada, tenor/ Chiyuki Urano, bass. – BIS Multichannel SACD-1500 ****:

Maasaki Suzuki leads  the  Bach Collegium Japan in a crystalline, beautifully balanced reading of  J.S. Bach’s masterpiece. Transparency  epitomizes this recording, in which each line of counterpoint found in orchestra, soloists and choirs is heard simultaneously yet  separately. This is essential Bach laid bare in all of its simplicity and magnificence.

The soloists exhibit beauty of sound and artistic expression as well as an uncanny ability to blend with one another and with chorus and orchestra. This recording does not “play” as a set of excerpts of the St. Matthew Passion. It is a progressive linear journey through what is arguably Bach’s magnum opus, capturing the totality of the work. One does not feel “discounted” by these excerpts.

The BIS surround sound acoustic evokes  a large vaulted church/auditorium. The recording was made at the Kobe Shoin Women’s University, Japan in March of  1999. A most impressive spatiality is captured by sound engineer, Marion Schwebel, lending  optimum clarity to the performance.

Although less dramatic and leaner of sound than the legendary 1962 EMI (CMS 7 63058 2) recording of the St Matthew Passion featuring Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau, Peter Pears, Elisabeth Schwartzkopf et.al. with The Philharmonia Orchestra and Choir directed by Otto Klemperer, this Suzuki performance achieves the  simplistic and rapturous essence of Bach not attained by the Klemperer.. Most highly recommended.

– Ronald Legum
 

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