This month's featured artist is Dunedin Consort. Join us as we take a look back at Dunedin's most recent Bach recording: John Passion (2013). With contributions from director John Butt and producer Philip Hobbs, these retrospectives will give you the story behind the recording and introduce you to some exceptional music.
This spring marks the return of Dunedin Consort's star-studded cast as they release Bach's John Passion for the first time within its original liturgical context. Director John Butt has given listeners an interpretation that provides a refreshing outlook on this masterpiece and will show the John Passion in a completely new light. This recording provides the listener with a truly unique experience as, for the first time on record, they can hear this performance as it was originally intended.
'a dramatic, profoundly considered reading.'
BBC Music Magazine
'[a] perfectly paced ensemble Passion'
'A breakthrough on Bach's John Passion'
'wonderfully pure, buoyant and transparent.'
'the liturgical experience offers benefits to heart and mind'
'Historic and supremely important'
Fact about the Recording: Director John Butt has called upon the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir (directed by James Grossmith) and a congregational choir of amateur singers for this recording. The Dunedin Consort are singing the solos while the choirs perform motets and chorales from an original Leipzig hymn book. The purpose of this was to recreate the context of a Passion performance during Bach's time at Leipzig with the choirs acting as the congregation.
Album Extras: This recording also includes an organ prelude performed by John Butt in Greyfriars Kirk, however, what makes this recording truly unique is the accompanying recording of a sermon from Bach's own time plus a wealth of extra informative material including booklet note translations, John Butt's sources and a brief bibliography as well as a summary of the whole sermon and intercession.
A look behind the recording with producer, Philip Hobbs: "This is the most extreme example of John's knowledge, he built a context round a familiar piece but has transformed it. If you start from the first note of the piece it is an intricate chorus and if your ear isn't tuned in most of the way through you don't realise what is happening. What John has done by adding his 10 minutes of organ music is adding value as you have a setup which is understated so that when the Bach sets in you have a hymn and some liturgy and then the organ sets in and it gets the listeners attention as they feel that something is starting. When the passion finally starts it is almost like the sun coming out and it provides a fantastic effect. It really required an extraordinary brain to set that up."
"The recording of Matthew Passion was difficult on the soloists' voices as it was all recorded at once. This time around the singers came back a few months after the original recording to record the story part. As it was three months later their voices were fresh which made a huge difference. There is something satisfying about completing a passion for all involved as everything has to be perfect."
'Recording of the Month' BBC Music Magazine
'Recording of the Month' Gramophone
'Recording of the Month' MusicWeb International
Number 1 'UK Specialist Classical Chart' (24.03.2013)
Number 10 'UK Classical Artist Chart' (24.03.2013)