Bach: John Passion

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
It's well known that Renaissance masses were written for inclusion in church services, not to be performed as concert works without a break, and recordings of them performed that way are available. Not so commonly realized is that Bach's "Passion" settings were the same way, with the two large halves surrounding a sermon and framed with congregational singing, organ works, and other music. Conductor John Butt and his Dunedin Consort here offer what is likely the first performance in this manner of the "St. John Passion, BWV 245," or for that matter of either of Bach's "Passions." The work is sung by a small but not one-voice-per-part choir, with a larger group singing ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
It's well known that Renaissance masses were written for inclusion in church services, not to be performed as concert works without a break, and recordings of them performed that way are available. Not so commonly realized is that Bach's "Passion" settings were the same way, with the two large halves surrounding a sermon and framed with congregational singing, organ works, and other music. Conductor John Butt and his Dunedin Consort here offer what is likely the first performance in this manner of the "St. John Passion, BWV 245," or for that matter of either of Bach's "Passions." The work is sung by a small but not one-voice-per-part choir, with a larger group singing chorales at the beginning. There's even a sermon, but you have to download it. That's not an ideal solution, but it's understandable. The main revelation from hearing the work this way is that the work is not a dramatic, opera-like setting of the Passion story but a reflection upon that story. As Butt says, "Bach's "Oratorio Passions" doubled all the essential elements of the service itself: the reading from Scripture, the communal response in the chorales, the more subjective and meditative element of prayer in the arias." Listeners can imagine themselves, theoretically, hearing the work as Bach's original congregants heard it. The actual liturgy presented here is a reconstruction, not one that is ever known to have been used, and the specific version of the work used is one that was prepared for a 1739 performance that never actually took place. It is unclear why this course was chosen, but the Dunedin Consort's performance can successfully stand on its own; Nicholas Mulroy as the Evangelist gets across the involvement with text that's necessary for an experiment like this to work. It's not that this should be standard procedure; the core of the work still resides in its arias, choruses, and chorales. But it's very good indeed to have the opportunity to contemplate the work's meaning in this way.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/26/2013
  • Label: Linn Records
  • UPC: 691062041928
  • Catalog Number: 419
  • Sales rank: 227,791

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund', chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein No. 23), BWV 621 (BC K50) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Matthew Brook (1:16)
  2. 2 Praeludium for organ in F sharp minor, BuxWV 146: [Excerpt] - Dietrich Buxtehude & John Butt (1:21)
  3. 3–70 St. John Passion (Johannespassion), BWV 245 (BC D2) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Matthew Brook (108:45)
  4. 4 O Lamm Gottes unschuldig (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein No. 20), BWV 618 (BC K47) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Matthew Brook (2:49)
  5. 5 Christus, der uns selig macht (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein No. 22), BWV 620 (BC K49) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Matthew Brook (1:47)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Ecce quomodo moritur iustus - Jacobus Handl (Gallus) & John Butt (2:58)
  2. 2 Nun danket alle Gott, chorale prelude for organ (Achtzehn Choräle No. 6), BWV 657 (BC K80) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Matthew Brook (4:09)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dunedin Consort Primary Artist
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