JS Bach Matthew Passion - Dunedin Consort - The Sunday Telegraph

In the booklet, John Butt sets out his case for performing the St Matthew Passion with single voices in the "choruses", as Bach might have done. The disciples and the baying mob here become individuals in a "novel in sound". With its sense of continuous dialogue, such a performance can, in Butt's words, "draw the listener into a conversation that occurs in real time".

This performance will not, of course, satisfy those who crave monumentality. Others may find its intimacy, urgent realism and inevitable sense of pacing as compelling as I do.

Led by Nicholas Mulroy's intensely dramatic yet compassionate Evangelist and Matthew Brook's forthright, very human Christ, the young soloists sing with candid freshness. Even their occasional rawness suggests a touching vulnerability. In sum, a St Matthew of disarming emotional and dramatic immediacy.

23 March 2008