J.S. Bach: St. John Passion

J.S. Bach: St. John Passion

by David Temple

SACD(Super Audio CD)

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J.S. Bach: St. John Passion

Of the numerous recordings on the market of Bach's "St. John Passion, BWV 245," it seems safe to say this is one of the most unusual. It's in English, for one thing, and it's apparently the first recording of the work in English since one led by Benjamin Britten in the early 1970s. The text used is a new translation, carefully matching the prosody of the German, and it works very well, leaving the text alone (sample "Jesus of Nazareth") where the translation fits the rhythm, and altering it substantially where necessary. London's Crouch End Festival Chorus (not a choir of a choral festival, but a semi-professional group whose repertoire extends beyond classical music) is 100 singers strong, entirely diverging from the almost obligatory small choirs (even one-voice-per-part groups) that perform Bach these days. But, if you're a traditionalist getting ready to cheer the revival of the old-fashioned, massed choir-and-orchestra type of Bach performance, hold your horses: the chorus is paired with the Bach Camerata, a small, period-performance group tuned lower than usual concert pitch. The results have several attractive features. This kind of setting is really the only way to get good text intelligibility out of a large choir, and you really can understand most of the words, even if it's not quite like the direct encounter with the text conductor David Temple has described in connection with live performances. You may find yourself consulting the booklet text, but it's enough to be a really different way of experiencing the work for Anglophones. The soloists are uniformly strong; bass-baritone Ashley Riches as Jesus is especially arresting. You may also find that in complex passagework, as is often the case with groups this size, the choir tends to lumber along a bit, and that overall there's no compelling reason, historical or otherwise, to perform the work this way. But here, even more than with other products, your mileage may vary.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/21/2017
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115518328
catalogNumber: 5183
Rank: 115416


  1. St. John Passion (Johannespassion), BWV 245 (BC D2)

    1. Part One. 1 Chorus: Hail! Lord and Master  (09:26)
    2. Part Two. 21 Chorale: Christ, whose life was as the light  (01:02)
    3. Part One. 2 Recitativo. Evangelist: Jesus went with His disciples over the brook Cedron –  (01:10)
    4. Part Two. 22 Recitativo. Evangelist: And then they led forth Jesus from Caiaphas... –  (00:36)
    5. Part One. 3 Chorus: Jesus of Nazareth –  (00:10)
    6. Part Two. 23 Chorus: If this man were not a malefactor... –  (01:03)
    7. Part One. 4 Recitativo. Evangelist: Jesus saith to them –  (00:35)
    8. Part Two. 24 Recitativo. Evangelist: And Pilate said unto them –  (00:12)
    9. Part One. 5 Chorus: Jesus of Nazareth –  (00:10)
    10. Part Two. 25 Chorus: For us it is not lawful to put a man to death  (00:38)
    11. Part One. 6 Recitativo. Evangelist: Jesus answered them  (00:21)
    12. Part Two. 26 Recitativo. Evangelist: So that the saying might be fulfilled...  (01:36)
    13. Part One. 7 Chorale: O mighty love, O love beyond all measure  (00:40)
    14. Part Two. 27 Chorale: O mighty King, how marvellous Thy glory!  (01:23)
    15. Part One. 8 Recitativo. Evangelist: So that the saying might be fulfilled which He had spoken  (01:01)
    16. Part Two. 28 Recitativo. Evangelist: Then Pilate said unto Him –  (01:17)
    17. Part One. 9 Chorale: Thy will, O God, be always done  (00:44)
    18. Part Two. 29 Chorus: Not this man, no not this man but Barabbas! –  (00:10)
    19. Part One. 10 Recitativo. Evangelist: The band then, together with the Captain and the soldiers of t  (00:47)
    20. Part Two. 30 Recitativo. Evangelist: Now this Barabbas was a robber  (00:25)
    21. Part One. 11 Aria: From the bondage of iniquity  (04:50)
    22. Part Two. 31 Arioso: Come ponder, O my soul, with fearful trepidation. Adagio  (02:32)
    23. Part One. 12 Recitativo. Evangelist: Simon Peter followed Jesus afar off  (00:14)
    24. Part Two. 32 Aria: Behold Him! See His body  (08:15)
    25. Part One. 13 Aria: I follow Thee gladly, my Lord and my Master  (03:42)
    26. Part Two. 33 Recitativo. Evangelist: And when the soldiers had plaited Him a crown of thorns... –  (00:14)
    27. Part One. 14 Recitativo. Evangelist: Now that other disciple was known unto the High Priest  (03:04)
    28. Part Two. 34 Chorus: See! We hail Thee, King of Jews –  (00:34)
    29. Part One. 15 Chorale: O Lord, who dares to smite thee?  (01:31)
    30. Part Two. 35 Recitativo. Evangelist: And they smote Him with their hands –  (00:55)
    31. Part One. 16 Recitativo. Evangelist: Now Annas sent him bound unto the other High Priest –  (00:17)
    32. Part Two. 36 Chorus: Crucify Him! –  (00:55)
    33. Part One. 17 Chorus: Art thou not one of His disciples?  (00:22)
    34. Part Two. 37 Recitativo. Evangelist: Then Pilate saith to them –  (00:17)
    35. Part One. 18 Recitativo. Evangelist: But Peter denied it and said. [ ] – Adagio  (01:40)
    36. Part Two. 38 Chorus: We have a sacred law –  (01:15)
    37. Part One. 19 Aria: Ah, my soul, where shall I hide my shame  (02:26)
    38. Part Two. 39 Recitativo. Evangelist: And when Pilate heard that saying  (01:25)
    39. Part One. 20 Chorale: Peter, with his faithless lies  (01:11)
    40. Part Two. 40 Chorale: Our Lord in prison cell confined  (00:42)
    41. Part Two. 41 Recitativo. Evangelist: But the Jews cried out the more and said –  (00:04)
    42. Part Two. 42 Chorus: If thou let this man go, then thou art not Caesar’s friend –  (01:17)
    43. Part Two. 43 Recitativo. Evangelist: And when Pilate heard that saying –  (00:39)
    44. Part Two. 44 Chorus: Away with Him, crucify Him! –  (01:02)
    45. Part Two. 45 Recitativo. Evangelist: Pilate saith unto them –  (00:10)
    46. Part Two. 46 Chorus: We have no King but Caesar –  (00:10)
    47. Part Two. 47 Recitativo. Evangelist: And then he delivered Him to them  (00:46)
    48. Part Two. 48 Aria and Chorus: Haste, haste, all ye whose souls are weary  (04:01)
    49. Part Two. 49 Recitativo. Evangelist: And there crucified they Him. [ ] – Adagio –  (01:23)
    50. Part Two. 50 Chorus: Write thou not the King of Jews –  (00:34)
    51. Part Two. 51 Recitativo. Evangelist: But Pilate answered –  (00:16)
    52. Part Two. 52 Chorale: Thy name, O Lord, is shining  (00:50)
    53. Part Two. 53 Recitativo. Evangelist: And then did the soldiers –  (00:36)
    54. Part Two. 54 Chorus: Let us not divide it –  (01:24)
    55. Part Two. 55 Recitativo. Evangelist: So that the Scripture might be fulfilled. [ ] – Adagio  (01:46)
    56. Part Two. 56 Chorale: See Him, in His agony  (01:03)
    57. Part Two. 57 Recitativo. Evangelist: And from that hour he took her unto his own home’  (01:23)
    58. Part Two. 58 Aria: It is fulfilled. Molto adagio – Vivace – Adagio  (04:50)
    59. Part Two. 59 Recitativo. Evangelist: And, bowing His head, He gave up the ghost  (00:31)
    60. Part Two. 60 Aria and Chorale: My Lord and Master, let me ask Thee  (04:14)
    61. Part Two. 61 Recitativo. Evangelist: And then behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain  (00:31)
    62. Part Two. 62 Arioso: My heart, see how the world itself is suff’ring. [ ] – Adagio  (00:57)
    63. Part Two. 63 Aria: O heart, melt in weeping. Molt'adagio  (06:42)
    64. Part Two. 64 Recitativo. Evangelist: The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation  (02:16)
    65. Part Two. 65 Chorale: Help us, Christ, God’s only Son  (01:05)
    66. Part Two. 66 Recitativo. Evangelist: At last, after this Joseph of Arimathea  (02:17)
    67. Part Two. 67 Chorus: Sleep well, and rest in God’s safe-keeping –  (07:07)
    68. Part Two. 68 Chorale: O Jesus when I come to die  (01:58)

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