This month's featured artist is Dunedin Consort. Join us as we take a look back at Dunedin's previous Bach recording: Matthew Passion (2008). 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.

The Passion story was represented in a musical-dramatic tradition well before the invention of opera and oratorio but it was only a matter of time before these later dramatic genres would cross-fertilize with the earlier traditions. Bach's Passions were performed during the afternoon Vesper service on Good Friday, their two parts replacing the cantata and Magnificat which were normally presented on either side of the sermon. Like Bach's cantatas, the Passions assimilate something of the sermon's function, since the free poetry of the arias, ariosos and framing choruses provide both a commentary and an emotional interpretation of the biblical text in the world of the listener.  

dunedin Consort recording session

 '5 Essential Works by Johann Sebastian Bach'
BBC Music Magazine 2012


'Best Recording of 2008'
High Fidelity Magazine 


'Gramophone Recommended'


'Disc of the Month'
Classic FM magazine 


'This one is very special indeed.'
MusicWeb International 


'My new benchmark'
BBC Music Magazine 

Fact about the Recording: John Butt recreated the instrumentation and vocal scoring that his extensive academic research led him to believe the composer employed in his last performance of the work.  

In the studio with Linn Producer Philip Hobbs: "Passions are extremely difficult to perform. In a normal recording the soloists sing the solos and the chorus since the chorus but in a passion the soloist could be singing the entire passion story and the arias for a couple of hours at a time. When recording this is not just once but repeated throughout the day which is an enormous undertaking by any singer. Very few singers can do this live far less recorded."

Behind the scenes: This recording was laced with problems. It was recorded in Greyfriars Kirk and there was building work going on outside the church. A finely tuned ear may be able to hear the reversing bulldozer very faintly in the background of one of the tracks!  

Matthew Passion Sleeve

5 stars BBC Music Magazine 5 stars Pizzicato  

4.5 stars AudioVideoHD 4.5 stars The Guardian

4.5 stars The Herald 4.5 stars De Gelderlander

4.5 stars Berlingske 4.5 stars The Scotsman

4.5 stars The Observer 4.5 stars