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J.S. Bach: Matthew Passion (Final performing version, c. 1742)

Dunedin Consort

J.S. Bach: Matthew Passion (Final performing version, c. 1742)

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CKD 313 (Linn Records)
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Tracks: Listen and Download

Format
Track Time Listen Track Price
1
Chorus: Kommt, ihr Tochter, helft mir klagen; Choral: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig

Chorus: Kommt, ihr Tochter, helft mir klagen; Choral: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
6:40 Play $3.40
2
Evangelista, Jesus: Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte

Evangelista, Jesus: Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)

0:41 Play $1.70
3
Choral: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen

Choral: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:46 Play $1.70
4
Evangelista: Da versammleten sich die Hohenpriester

Evangelista: Da versammleten sich die Hohenpriester

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:23 Play $1.70
5
Chori: Ja nicht auf das Fest

Chori: Ja nicht auf das Fest

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:14 Play $1.70
6
Evangelista: Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien

Evangelista: Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:31 Play $1.70
7
Chorus: Wozu dienet dieser Unrat?

Chorus: Wozu dienet dieser Unrat?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:30 Play $1.70
8
Evangelista, Jesus: Da das Jesus merkete

Evangelista, Jesus: Da das Jesus merkete

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)

1:23 Play $1.70
9
Recitativo: Du lieber Heiland du

Recitativo: Du lieber Heiland du

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson
0:53 Play $1.70
10
Aria: Buss und Reu

Aria: Buss und Reu

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson
4:14 Play $1.70
11
Evangelista, Judas: Da ging hin der Zwolfen einer

Evangelista, Judas: Da ging hin der Zwolfen einer

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Roderick Bryce

0:37 Play $1.70
12
Aria: Blute nur, du liebes Herz!

Aria: Blute nur, du liebes Herz!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor

John Butt

Soloist Cecilia Osmond (soprano)
4:40 Play $1.70
13
Evangelista: Aber am ersten Tage der sussen Brot

Evangelista: Aber am ersten Tage der sussen Brot

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:14 Play $1.70
14
Chorus: Wo willst du, dass wir dir bereiten

Chorus: Wo willst du, dass wir dir bereiten

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:23 Play $1.70
15
Evangelista, Jesus: Er sprach: Gehet hin in die Stadt

Evangelista, Jesus: Er sprach: Gehet hin in die Stadt

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)

1:16 Play $1.70
16
Evangelista: Und sie wurden sehr betrubt

Evangelista: Und sie wurden sehr betrubt

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:12 Play $1.70
17
Chorus: Herr, bin ichs?

Chorus: Herr, bin ichs?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:12 Play $1.70
18
Choral: Ich bins, ich sollte bussen

Choral: Ich bins, ich sollte bussen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:49 Play $1.70
19
Evangelista, Jesus, Judas: Er antwortete und sprach

Evangelista, Jesus, Judas: Er antwortete und sprach

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
Roderick Bryce

3:08 Play $1.70
20
Recitativo: Wiewohl mein Herz in Tranen schwimmt

Recitativo: Wiewohl mein Herz in Tranen schwimmt

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Susan Hamilton (soprano)
1:10 Play $1.70
21
Aria: Ich will dir mein Herze schenken

Aria: Ich will dir mein Herze schenken

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Susan Hamilton (soprano)
3:09 Play $1.70
22
Evangelista, Jesus: Und da sie den Lobgesang gesprochen hatten

Evangelista, Jesus: Und da sie den Lobgesang gesprochen hatten

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
1:06 Play $1.70
23
Choral: Erkenne mich, mein Huter

Choral: Erkenne mich, mein Huter

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:00 Play $1.70
24
Evangelista, Petrus, Jesus: Petrus aber antwortete und sprach zu ihm

Evangelista, Petrus, Jesus: Petrus aber antwortete und sprach zu ihm

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
Michael Wallace
1:00 Play $1.70
25
Choral: Ich will hier bei dir stehen

Choral: Ich will hier bei dir stehen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:55 Play $1.70
26
Evangelista, Jesus: Da kam Jesus mit ihnen zu einem Hofe

Evangelista, Jesus: Da kam Jesus mit ihnen zu einem Hofe

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
1:39 Play $1.70
27
Recitativo: O Schmerz! Hier zittert das gequalte Herz; Choral: Was ist die Ursach aller solcher Plagen?

Recitativo: O Schmerz! Hier zittert das gequalte Herz; Choral: Was ist die Ursach aller solcher Plagen?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
1:53 Play $1.70
28
Aria: Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen; Chorus: So schlafen unsre Sunden ein

Aria: Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen; Chorus: So schlafen unsre Sunden ein

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
4:50 Play $1.70
29
Evangelista, Jesus: Und ging hin ein wenig

Evangelista, Jesus: Und ging hin ein wenig

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
0:45 Play $1.70
30
Recitativo: Der Heiland fallt vor seinem Vater nieder

Recitativo: Der Heiland fallt vor seinem Vater nieder

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Brian Bannatyne-Scott (bass)
0:57 Play $1.70
31
Aria: Gerne will ich mich bequemen

Aria: Gerne will ich mich bequemen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Brian Bannatyne-Scott (bass)
4:26 Play $1.70
32
Evangelista, Jesus: Und er kam zu seinen Jungern

Evangelista, Jesus: Und er kam zu seinen Jungern

Composer

JS Bach

Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)

1:20 Play $1.70
33
Choral: Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit

Choral: Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:08 Play $1.70
34
Evangelista, Jesus, Judas: Und er kam und fand sie aber schlafend

Evangelista, Jesus, Judas: Und er kam und fand sie aber schlafend

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist

Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
Roderick Bryce

2:14 Play $1.70
35
Aria: So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen; Chorus: Lasst ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!

Aria: So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen; Chorus: Lasst ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Susan Hamilton (soprano)
Clare Wilkinson (alto)
3:32 Play $1.70
36
Chori: Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden?

Chori: Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:04 Play $1.70
37
Evangelista, Jesus: Und siehe, einer aus denen, die mit Jesu waren

Evangelista, Jesus: Und siehe, einer aus denen, die mit Jesu waren

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
1:59 Play $1.70
38
Choral: O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross

Choral: O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
5:43 Play $3.40
39
Aria: Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin!; Chorus: Wo ist denn dein Freund hingegangen

Aria: Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin!; Chorus: Wo ist denn dein Freund hingegangen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson (alto)
4:02 Play $1.70
40
Evangelista: Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten

Evangelista: Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
1:01 Play $1.70
41
Choral: Mir hat die Welt truglich gericht’

Choral: Mir hat die Welt truglich gericht’

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:44 Play $1.70
42
Evangelista, Testis I/II, Pontifex: Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten

Evangelista, Testis I/II, Pontifex: Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
1:04 Play $1.70
43
Recitativo: Mein Jesus schweigt zu falschen Lugen stille

Recitativo: Mein Jesus schweigt zu falschen Lugen stille

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Malcolm Bennett (tenor)
1:02 Play $1.70
44
Aria: Geduld!

Aria: Geduld!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Malcolm Bennett (tenor)
3:29 Play $1.70
45
Evangelista, Pontifex, Jesus: Und der Hohepriester antwortete

Evangelista, Pontifex, Jesus: Und der Hohepriester antwortete

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
Michael Wallace
1:15 Play $1.70
46
Chori: Er ist des Todes schuldig!

Chori: Er ist des Todes schuldig!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:14 Play $1.70
47
Evangelista: Da speieten sie aus in sein Angesicht

Evangelista: Da speieten sie aus in sein Angesicht

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:13 Play $1.70
48
Chori: Weissage uns, Christe

Chori: Weissage uns, Christe

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:21 Play $1.70
49
Choral: Wer hat dich so geschlagen

Choral: Wer hat dich so geschlagen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:51 Play $1.70
50
Evangelista, Ancilla I/II, Petrus: Petrus aber sass draussen im Palast

Evangelista, Ancilla I/II, Petrus: Petrus aber sass draussen im Palast

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
Ali Darragh
0:54 Play $1.70
51
Chorus: Wahrlich, du bist auch einer von denen

Chorus: Wahrlich, du bist auch einer von denen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:11 Play $1.70
52
Evangelista, Petrus: Da hub er an, sich zu verfluchen

Evangelista, Petrus: Da hub er an, sich zu verfluchen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
1:17 Play $1.70
53
Aria: Erbarme dich, mein Gott

Aria: Erbarme dich, mein Gott

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson (alto)
6:22 Play $3.40
54
Choral: Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen

Choral: Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:07 Play $1.70
55
Evangelista, Judas: Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohepriester

Evangelista, Judas: Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohepriester

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Roderick Bryce
0:52 Play $1.70
56
Chori: Was gehet uns das an?

Chori: Was gehet uns das an?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:08 Play $1.70
57
Evangelista, Pontifex I/II: Und er warf die Silberlinge in den Tempel

Evangelista, Pontifex I/II: Und er warf die Silberlinge in den Tempel

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
Roderick Bryce
0:38 Play $1.70
58
Aria: Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder!

Aria: Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Brian Bannatyne-Scott (bass)
2:51 Play $1.70
59
Evangelista, Pilatus, Jesus: Sie hielten aber einen Rat

Evangelista, Pilatus, Jesus: Sie hielten aber einen Rat

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
Michael Wallace
2:06 Play $1.70
60
Choral: Befiehl du deine Wege

Choral: Befiehl du deine Wege

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:54 Play $1.70
61
Evangelista, Pilatus, Uxor Pilati, Chori: Auf das Fest aber hatte der Landpfleger Gewohnheit

Evangelista, Pilatus, Uxor Pilati, Chori: Auf das Fest aber hatte der Landpfleger Gewohnheit

Composer JS Bach
Conductor

John Butt

Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
Ali Darragh
1:51 Play $1.70
62
Chori: Lass ihn kreuzigen!

Chori: Lass ihn kreuzigen!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:21 Play $1.70
63
Choral: Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!

Choral: Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:38 Play $1.70
64
Evangelista, Pilatus: Der Landpfleger sagte

Evangelista, Pilatus: Der Landpfleger sagte

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
0:17 Play $1.70
65
Recitativo: Er hat uns allen wohlgetan

Recitativo: Er hat uns allen wohlgetan

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Susan Hamilton (soprano)
1:03 Play $1.70
66
Aria: Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben

Aria: Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Susan Hamilton (soprano)
4:37 Play $1.70
67
Evangelista: Sie schrieen aber noch mehr; Chori: Lass ihn kreuzigen!

Evangelista: Sie schrieen aber noch mehr; Chori: Lass ihn kreuzigen!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:22 Play $1.70
68
Evangelista, Pilatus: Da aber Pilatus sahe

Evangelista, Pilatus: Da aber Pilatus sahe

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
0:25 Play $1.70
69
Chori: Sein Blut komme uber uns

Chori: Sein Blut komme uber uns

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:40 Play $1.70
70
Evangelista: Da gab er ihnen Barrabam los

Evangelista: Da gab er ihnen Barrabam los

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:18 Play $1.70
71
Recitativo: Erbarm es Gott!

Recitativo: Erbarm es Gott!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Annie Gill (alto)
0:58 Play $1.70
72
Aria: Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen

Aria: Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Annie Gill (alto)
7:13 Play $3.40
73
Evangelista: Da nahmen die Kriegsknechte

Evangelista: Da nahmen die Kriegsknechte

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:38 Play $1.70
74
Chori: Gegrusset seist du, Judenkonig!

Chori: Gegrusset seist du, Judenkonig!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:12 Play $1.70
75
Evangelista: Und speieten ihn an

Evangelista: Und speieten ihn an

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:14 Play $1.70
76
Choral: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

Choral: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:53 Play $1.70
77
Evangelista: Und da sie ihn verspottet hatten

Evangelista: Und da sie ihn verspottet hatten

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:56 Play $1.70
78
Recitativo: Ja freilich will in uns das Fleisch und Blut

Recitativo: Ja freilich will in uns das Fleisch und Blut

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Matthew Brook (bass)
0:37 Play $1.70
79
Aria: Komm, susses Kreuz, so will ich sagen

Aria: Komm, susses Kreuz, so will ich sagen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Matthew Brook (bass)
6:43 Play $3.40
80
Evangelista: Und da sie an die Statte kamen

Evangelista: Und da sie an die Statte kamen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
1:40 Play $1.70
81
Chori: Der du den Tempel Gottes zerbrichst

Chori: Der du den Tempel Gottes zerbrichst

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:30 Play $1.70
82
Evangelista: Desgleichen auch die Hohenpriester

Evangelista: Desgleichen auch die Hohenpriester

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:09 Play $1.70
83
Chori: Andern hat er geholfen

Chori: Andern hat er geholfen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:50 Play $1.70
84
Evangelista: Desgleichen schmaheten ihn auch die Morder

Evangelista: Desgleichen schmaheten ihn auch die Morder

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:15 Play $1.70
85
Recitativo: Ach Golgatha, unselges Golgatha!

Recitativo: Ach Golgatha, unselges Golgatha!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson (alto)
1:22 Play $1.70
86
Aria: Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand; Chorus: Wohin?

Aria: Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand; Chorus: Wohin?

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Clare Wilkinson (alto)
3:09 Play $1.70
87
Evangelista, Jesus: Und von der sechsten Stunde an

Evangelista, Jesus: Und von der sechsten Stunde an

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Matthew Brook (bass)
1:25 Play $1.70
88
Chorus: Der rufet dem Elias!; Evangelista: Und bald lief einer unter ihnen

Chorus: Der rufet dem Elias!; Evangelista: Und bald lief einer unter ihnen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:17 Play $1.70
89
Chori: Halt! lass sehen

Chori: Halt! lass sehen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:07 Play $1.70
90
Evangelista: Aber Jesus schriee abermal laut

Evangelista: Aber Jesus schriee abermal laut

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:24 Play $1.70
91
Choral: Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden

Choral: Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
1:07 Play $1.70
92
Evangelista: Und siehe da, der Vorhang im Tempel zerriss

Evangelista: Und siehe da, der Vorhang im Tempel zerriss

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:56 Play $1.70
93
Chori: Wahrlich, dieser ist Gottes Sohn gewesen

Chori: Wahrlich, dieser ist Gottes Sohn gewesen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:18 Play $1.70
94
Evangelista: Und es waren viel Weiber da

Evangelista: Und es waren viel Weiber da

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
1:14 Play $1.70
95
Recitativo: Am Abend, da es kuhle war

Recitativo: Am Abend, da es kuhle war

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Matthew Brook (bass)
2:01 Play $1.70
96
Aria: Mache dich, mein Herze, rein

Aria: Mache dich, mein Herze, rein

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Matthew Brook (bass)
6:17 Play $3.40
97
Evangelista: Und Joseph nahm den Leib

Evangelista: Und Joseph nahm den Leib

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
0:55 Play $1.70
98
Chori: Herr, wir haben gedacht

Chori: Herr, wir haben gedacht

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
0:56 Play $1.70
99
Evangelista, Pilatus: Pilatus sprach zu ihnen

Evangelista, Pilatus: Pilatus sprach zu ihnen

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Michael Wallace
0:36 Play $1.70
100
Recitativo: Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht; Chorus: Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!

Recitativo: Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht; Chorus: Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
Soloist Matthew Brook (bass)
1:53 Play $1.70
101
Chorus: Wir setzen uns mit Tranen nieder

Chorus: Wir setzen uns mit Tranen nieder

Composer JS Bach
Conductor John Butt
5:30 Play $3.40
Total Running Time 161 minutes Purchase all tracks 
$20.00 
Prices shown in US Dollars

The award-winning Dunedin Consort give a remarkable performance of the emotive Matthew Passion in J.S. Bach's Final performing version, c. 1742.

The SACD layer is both 5.1 channel and 2-channel. The Studio Master files are 88.2kHz / 24-bit.

Download includes - cover art, inlay, booklet
Dunedin Consort

Dunedin Consort

Under the direction of John Butt OBE, the ensemble has become particularly acclaimed for its inquisitive approach, shining new light into some of the best known pieces of the baroque repertoire. They have won two Gramophone Awards for their performances of Handel's Messiah  and Mozart's Requiem.

profile & recordings >>
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

Considered by many to be the supreme composer of the Baroque style, and regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
profile & recordings >>
John Butt

John Butt

John Butt is Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow and musical director of Edinburgh's Dunedin Consort.
profile & recordings >>

Produced by Philip Hobbs

BBC Radio 3

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BBC Radio 3 - CD Review

April 2012

 

 

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

 

Best of 2008 Best Recording of 2008
High Fidelity Magazine

 

 

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Recorded at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK: 3rd-6th September 2007.
Engineered by Philip Hobbs.
Post-Production by Julia Thomas at Finesplice Ltd.
Sleeve design by John Haxby.

John Butt - Director

Nicholas Mulroy - Evangelist
Matthew Brook - Jesus

Susan Hamilton - soprano
Cecilia Osmond - soprano
Clare Wilkinson - alto
Annie Gill - alto
Malcolm Bennett - tenor
Brian Bannatyne-Scott - bass
 

Bach's Matthew Passion

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. This began to happen towards the end of the seventeenth century as librettists and composers increasingly embellished the Gospel texts with free arias, meditations and demanding obbligati. Many composers sought to capitalize on the operatic conventions that congregations would have experienced in the world of secular entertainment. Nevertheless, the Passion in oratorio style did not arrive in Leipzig until 1717 (at the modish Neue-Kirche), and the ageing Johann Kuhnau did not introduce an Oratorio Passion at the Cantorate of the Thomasschule until 1721, thus shortly before Bach himself came to Leipzig (1723). So, one of the greatest ironies about Bach's Passions is that their original audiences were far less familiar with the genre than we are; moreover - as is the case with all Bach's most celebrated music - we might have heard them many more times than did the original performers or even Bach himself.

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. This is something quite different from the function of an aria in opera, which normally develops a specific character within the represented world. But it is not difficult to understand some of the complaints about the new Passion genre from congregations in Lutheran Germany; Passions do, after all, borrow liberally from secular conventions such as dance and, particularly, opera.

Particularly striking in the construction of both the free poetry (by the Leipzig poet, Christian Friedrich Henrici, or ‘Picander') and Bach's musical setting is the emphasis on dialogue form - necessitating the performing format of double chorus and orchestra. This rhetorical device allows for contrasting or even opposing moods to be presented simultaneously (e.g. ‘So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen'/‘Laßt ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!'), complementary viewpoints (‘Ach, nun ist mein Jesu hin'/‘Wo ist denn dein Freund hingegangen') or a dialogue between a single speaker and a group (‘Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen'/‘So schlafen unsre Sünden ein'). All of these devices serve to personify the various ‘voices' within a single listener, acting out one's own reactions and conflicts.

The most impressive of the dialogue numbers is the opening chorus, which sets out some of the topics that the meditative numbers are to cover; indeed it seeds several words that open later arias. It is cast as a dialogue between Christian believers and ‘the Daughter of Zion' (one of the allegorical personages from the Song of Songs, reinterpreted as contemporary witnesses to Jesus's suffering). The theme of Solomon's love is recast in a Christian context with Jesus as the loving bridegroom and the church as his bride. A third element is introduced with the German chorale on the Agnus Dei, ‘O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig', sung by ripieno sopranos. Christ is thus portrayed as an innocent sacrificial lamb, an image that points towards the Apocalypse when Christ as a lamb rules the New Jerusalem, a bridegroom to the (‘feminine') community of all believers. In the work as a whole, Bach spun a dialogue between Old and New Testaments, between these and the Lutheran tradition (e.g. the traditional chorales) and between all these and the believer of his own time. It may well be that this sense of continual conversation is what has rendered this work so durable in later contexts, drawing in the listener to continue the conversation, whether within or without the Christian tradition.

Bach shared something of the encyclopaedic urge of his age, and compiled virtually every possible musical form available: recitatives (accompanied and secco), arioso, aria (including dance and concerto elements), chorales, chorale fantasias, choruses and motets. Together with two elements unusual in Bach's works - the doubled forces and the string ‘halo' for Christ's utterances - these render it even more ambitious than his more brutally immediate John Passion.

With its unfolding levels of symbolism, theological interpretation and - most striking of all - psychological insight, the Matthew Passion is perhaps the most challenging and ambitious artwork on a Christian subject. It is thus not entirely surprising that Bach seems to have spent considerable time and care in preparing the work. He possibly began writing it as early as 1725 but clearly did not finish or perfect it in time for the Good Friday performance (the John Passion had to be repeated). Bach did not present the Matthew Passion until 1727 and recast it in its most familiar form in 1736. This recording is the first to present the work with Bach's final revisions of scoring, as performed around 1742.


Vocal Scoring

The debates about Bach's vocal scoring have endured for over a quarter of a century. There is thus no need to repeat here the details of the thesis that Bach performed the majority of his choral works with a single voice to each part (as first proposed by Joshua Rifkin, on the basis of the surviving sets of performance parts). Indeed, there have been several successful performances and at least one recording of this Passion with this scoring.

The details of the debate notwithstanding, it is striking how well the Matthew Passion, in particular, is served by using eight principal voices (thus four in each of the two choirs). The work explores many forms of dialogue, as if to draw the listener into a conversation that occurs in real time. Not only are there the sections written in genuine double-choir texture, but there are several other combinations, such as one voice against four, or a dialogue between two singers in the first choir that becomes part of a larger dialogue with the four singers of the second choir. When all eight voices come together for certain choruses and all the chorales, the effect is quite different from performances in which the voices of each choir are already massed. The solo scoring also allows for a form of expression and delivery that is more commonly associated with solo singing than choral performance. When these voices come together as disciples or those baying for Jesus's blood, we hear them as individuals constituting a group rather than simply as a crowd.

Another point to emerge from the vocal scoring is the way the four main singers, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the four singers of choir two, become familiar to us as the piece progresses. Hearing them take several roles, both in the past of the story and in the present of the performance, enhances their actual reality to us. Given the large amount of aria material representing a contemporary response to the story, these singers are sharing our reactions, as observers, while also bringing the past to presence. It is almost as if the essence of the Passion story becomes real in our own time through the intermediary representation of these eight singers, who increasingly seem to belong to us rather than merely to some distant world.

The case of the Evangelist and Jesus is especially significant. In the opening chorus we hear the principal tenor singing as one of the allegorical ‘Daughters of Zion', calling us to lament. Then, by beginning the recitative (now in the third person) he brings a story to life, dipping into the past as a (first person) voice in the chorus, then back into our present in the chorales and his aria (where he promises to ‘stand by Jesus', precisely as he does physically in the actual performance). By going precisely against operatic convention, the moments when he brings personages to presence (including Jesus himself) give us a realism that is all the more striking for its intermittent nature. Indeed, the use of third-person Gospel narrative combined with many other voices, past and present, renders the experience rather more like a novel in sound than a straightforward theatrical representation. The case of Jesus is even more striking, in that the principal bass can also be heard as a human in the present, then as someone who can be either friend or foe to Jesus in the choruses. Towards the end he sings two arias that relate specifically to the human assimilation of Jesus, first at the point where Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross (thus, literally, the first imitator of Christ), and secondly in the wish to ‘entomb' Jesus in his own heart. Who better then to exemplify the imitation and assimilation of Jesus than the singer who has been taking his role all along?

If the type of realism implied by the scoring of the eight voices is achieved through a sort of anti-theatricality, this is made all the more striking by the way the remaining historical personages are represented in Bach's scoring. These roles are split between three further singers who - according to the layout of Bach's performing parts - play no further role in the performance (not even the chorales; and the two sopranos ‘in ripieno' added to the first and last numbers of Part One seem to sing nothing else in the piece). The highest of the three takes the role of Pilate's wife and both the servant girls; of the two bass parts, one takes the roles of Judas and Priest I, the other the roles of Peter, Pilate, Caiphas and Priest II. Thus, in the course of the performance, these singers seem like disembodied voices from a Palestine long in the past and, consequently, set in relief the consistent presence of the main voices (and specifically the presence of Jesus, who, at least for a Christian, is far more alive in our present than the likes of Judas, Peter or Pilate). Given the difficulty of these short roles and the lack of any vocal preparation, it may well be that Bach expected them to sound awkward and incompetent (an element of historical accuracy we decided not to duplicate in this recording).


Instrumental Scoring

In following Bach's vocal scoring more directly than in most previous performances (even those with single voices) we have also decided to recreate the instrumentation that Bach employed in his last performance of the Matthew Passion. Most significant here seems to be his substitution of a harpsichord for the organ in orchestra two. This has normally been explained by the fact that the second main organ, at the other end of Leipzig's Thomaskirche, had fallen into disrepair. But it is not likely that this instrument could ever have performed a continuo function, given the distance involved, and, in any case, Bach could easily have employed a positive organ for choir two. Given that the harpsichord features in several other late performances by Bach, we might then infer that it was included here to provide a genuine contrast of texture rather than merely to serve as an emergency measure.

Bach also added a viola da gamba to choir two in his last performance, a different part (and, presumably, player) from that of choir one. This is for the tenor 2 recitative and aria (‘Mein Jesus schweigt/Geduld') where the viola da gamba is added to the existing continuo of violoncello and violone (and oboes in the recitative). In other words, the gamba seems to be an addition rather than the substitution that is often assumed. This gives both numbers a rather grittier sonority, perhaps portraying more vividly the taunting against which the beleaguered tenor calls for patience.


Listening in
Leipzig

One final aspect of Bach's performance that we have considered here is the way in which the piece may originally have been heard in relation to the libretto available to the congregation. The text survives in a collection of Picander's poetry from 1729, where its layout is entirely compatible with surviving libretti for other Bach vocal works. All that the libretto presents is the text of the free poetry of arias and meditative choruses, each one cued by a reference to the point reached in Matthew's story. Thus the first recitative-aria pair occurs ‘When the woman had anointed Jesus'.

The original listener would presumably have read each aria text while listening to the familiar gospel narrative (interspersed with chorales, which would have been very familiar, but which are not listed in the libretto), drawing each of the fifteen scenes together in the expectation of the meditation to come. We have thus tried to give some sense of the way the work falls into scenes, each culminating in an aria. There are clearly some exceptions to this pattern, such as when the scene is very short (e.g. Judas's betrayal, between the arias ‘Buß und Reu' and ‘Blute nur, du liebes Herz!'), or when the aria seems to burst into the middle of a scene (‘So ist mein Jesu nun gefangen'). Most striking is the way the renewed call for Jesus's crucifixion bursts in at the end of what is arguably the most beautiful aria, relating to Jesus's supreme act of love (‘Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben'). Here we get the sense of a scene that has been interrupted by the aria, and the return to brutality is surely one of the most disturbing moments in the history of western music. With the recurrence of the chorus ‘Laß ihn kreuzigen' a tone higher, there is a sense of intensification, but also perhaps of the change wrought by the sentiment of the aria: we recognise it as precisely the same music, yet every note is different.

Trying to follow Bach's vocal scoring and the instrumentation of his last performance is not done in the name of a sort of pious literalism that condemns every other approach to the realm of inauthenticity. It is rather an attempt to explore the possibilities for creative expression within a particular set of historical parameters (which can thereby become opportunities). These are thus very much the starting point for performance rather than the goal to which it is directed. In the event, historical details might begin to seem rather trivial if the performance reveals this work - coming from a relatively obscure venue in eighteenth-century Europe - to provide a musical experience that is almost on the threshold of what is emotionally bearable.

© John Butt, 2008

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MusicWeb International
"I have no hesitation in following suit and placing this at the head of my recommendations..."
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Stereophile
2009 Records To Die For: "...this performance of the Christian Passion story grips you by the ears."
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Choral Journal
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sheer intimacy of musical and dramatic dialogue
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McAlister Matheson Music Newsletter
one of the most dramatically involving and emotionally searing performances of this work to have appeared on disc
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Butt's St Matthew is truly original in spheres resonating beyond established parameters. Gramophone Recommended.
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Verfrissende ontdekkingsreis door Bachs Matthaus Passion is verrassend.
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