Related Reviews
Financial Times
4 Stars
Prom 49: 'The Bach itself, sung in German, was given a vital performance, full of immediacy...'
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The Arts Desk
5 Stars
Prom 49: '...their recordings are among the best Bach, which is saying something...the Dunedin Consort and Choir blazed intensity from the start...'
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Herald Scotland
'...rewarding...'
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Ionarts
'...historically most informed... in an infectious, tight performance...'
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Gramophone
Critics' Choice 2013: 'It's easy for me this year: john Butt's fresh, supple, humane and beautifully contextualised recording of Bach's St John Passion with the Dunedin Consort really did make me see the work anew, raising my respect and love for it to even greater heights. How many recordings can do that?'
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Gramophone
Critics' Choice 2013: 'In this recording by the Dunedin Consort, not only does the reconstruction of the Good Friday Vespers liturgy of Bach's Leipzig give this Passion context, but also John Butt's limitless wit and invention with Bach create an immediacy that makes it feel completely new. Hearing one of Bach's greatest masterworks for the "first time", again, is the most joyous experience.'
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Opera News
'One of the most thought-provoking recordings of the past few years, and ultimately one of the most fulfilling.'
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American Record Guide
'...people interested in Bach's passion as liturgy will be fascinated by what is here.'
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Scherzo
'La dirección de Butt se nota asimismo de una minuciosidad extrema, en lo cual recibe la inestimable ayuda de unas tomas de amplia atmósfera y en el punto justo de reverberación para que la calidez de los mensajes lleguen sin un ápice de articio'
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International Record Review
'All of the soloists are generally outstanding. Nicholas Mulroy’s lithe, sensitive Evangelist is the epitome of narrative clarity and contrasts beautifully with the calming, authoritative richness of Matthew Brook’s Jesus.'
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Klassik
4 Stars
,,Bachs Johannespassion, mit Frische und großer Expertise geboten von John Butt und seinem Dunedin Consort...vor allem in ihrem interpretatorischen Kern üppige Qualitäten: Die Deutung wirkt sehr dynamisch und kraftvoll, mit einem dramatischen Zug und erfrischender Klarheit.''
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Classical.net
'Contrast has made for real impact'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'I will not be surprised if this recording of the St. John Passion comes to be regarded as a landmark in the work's already distinguished discography.'
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voix-des-arts.blogspot.co.uk
'The Dunedin Consort prove themselves to be instrumentalists of extraordinary ability.'
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Early Music Review
'This is far and away the most musical and satisfying performance around among the many, many versions available.'
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Early Music Review
'Whatever St John Passion you own, buy this one - it's unique!'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Recording of the Month: 'a dramatic, profoundly considered reading.'
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Sunday Times
'Linn offers a fascinating extra dimension.'
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Irish Times
'the performance is nimble on its feet.'
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The Observer
'Historic and supremely important'
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Audiophile Audition
'The performance is a fine one, even exceptional'
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Financial Times
'wonderfully pure, buoyant and transparent.'
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Herald Scotland
4 Stars
Live Review from Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow
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The Guardian
4 Stars
Live Review from Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
'Inspirational on every level.'
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The Times
'the liturgical experience offers benefits to heart and mind'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'an exceptionally fine small-scale performance'
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The Herald
'A breakthrough on Bach's John Passion'
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The Big Issue
'The impact is huge. The architecture, emotion and implication of Bach's music all change.'
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McAlister Matheson Music
'This Johannes Passion performance is without doubt the most involving and dramatic I have encountered.'
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Gramophone
Recording of the Month: '...[a] perfectly paced ensemble Passion'
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Gramophone
'As the Dunedin Consort record Bach's St John Passion in the context of a Good Friday vespers, David Vickers speaks to John Butt and others about the rewards of liturgical reconstruction.'
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John Passion Live - Dunedin Consort - The Guardian


21 August 2017
The Guardian
Tim Ashley
4 Stars

In the evening came Bach’s St John Passion, with John Butt and his Dunedin Consort making their overdue Proms debut with a performance that shed new light on the work by carefully contextualising it. Bach’s Passion was originally heard during Vespers on Good Friday and Butt presented the full service with the Passion at its centre, flanked by hymns, organ voluntaries, even the closing benediction. The audience was asked to sing along with the Vespers chorales.

The Passion itself was preceded by Buxtehude’s Organ Prelude in F Sharp Minor, played by Stephen Farr, and Bach’s turbulent opening chorus made an unforgettable effect as its chords died away. Butt used larger forces than he might have done in a smaller venue, and the choral and instrumental counterpoint, though beautifully shaped, was occasionally smudged by the Albert Hall’s foggy acoustic. Nicholas Mulroy made a superbly committed Evangelist, horrified on occasion by the tale he is telling. Matthew Brook’s Jesus was at times strikingly angry. Counter-tenor Tim Mead, at his most beautiful in Es Ist Vollbracht, led the distinguished lineup of soloists in the arias.


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