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J.S. Bach: Johannes-Passion

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J.S. Bach: Johannes-Passion + Bach - Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachtsoratorium) + Bach: St. Matthew Passion
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Equiluz, Robert Holl, Concentus Musicus Wien, Thomas Moser, Anton Scharinger
  • Directors: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Subtitled, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: German (DTS 5.0), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, Spanish, Chinese, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000L21DO4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,091 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Toelzer Knabenchor and Concentus Musicus Wien with soloists Kurt Equiluz, Robert Holl, Thomas Moser, and Anton Scharinger.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
The quality is very good and the Nicholas Harnoncourt's handling is very good also.
Howard Pitterson
We feel truly humble in the face of this wonderful version of a well-loved epic choral feast, and feel very lucky to be in possession of it.
Mr. G. F. Harding
The power of the music is in scene painting and this occurs throughout the entire piece.
Dr. John W. Rippon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Nathanson on May 24, 2007
Verified Purchase
This 1985 recording is without doubt the best of the available DVD's and would rank at the all time top five if CDs were included as well.

Nikolas Harnoncourt has proven time and again that he has the concept of the message bach was conveying and the talent to translate it into a superb performance. In contradistinction to the soothing Matthaeus Passion, the Johannes Passion is aggressive, confrontational and hostile to the 'Jews'. The message is delivered by the choruses employing brisk , contrapunctal rythms. The hauntingly beatiful Alto aria 'Es ist Volbracht' is anticlimactic to the tumultuous chorus pieces.

The Tolzer Knabben Chor sings these choruses with verve and passion- one only must look at the boys' facial expressions as they effortlessly master the score. The Passion is dominated by the choruses, by design and intent, Harnoncourt uhderstands it fully and delivers on that count. Kurt Equiluz as the Evangelist is phenomenal and surpasses even Peter Schreier in that tailormade role of his. The other adult male soloists are not far behind in the renditions of their roles utilising the power and crispness of their voices. That much can be said for the two Alto boy soloists. The Soprano boy soloist is the weakest only because he lacks any power behind and projection of his voice but even that does not mar the performance. The Concentus Musicus Wien delivers the peformance we have been accostomed to and expect.

The camera work is better than average and the sound, considering the age of the recording is not disappointing. Altogether, this is the performance to own and cherish time and again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on December 2, 2009
Verified Purchase
This brilliant recording though made in 1985 is still vibrant and alive today. This is a tribute to the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He was then and is still today the absolute master of playing works of the Baroque period on period instruments and being musicologically correct for that period and the composer. Many such attempts at "period correct" music playing that I've heard have been stiff, boring and lifeless. Not so with Harnoncourt. His recordings are always exciting and spell binding. This is certainly true of the Johanes Passion.
This is the earlier of the two surviving Passions that Bach wrote. He had just been appointed Kantor of the St. Thomas church in Leipzig and was at the height of his choral creative powers. Whereas the later St. Matthew Passion is deeply devotional, contemplative and reassuring, the St. John is raw, aggressive and hugely dramatic; as close to Opera as Bach would ever obtain. From the opening chorus with it's mesmerizing dissonance in "Herr, Herr, unser Herrscher"(an E against an E flat), the rush of the drama seizes you and it carries you till the end of the work. The power of the music is in scene painting and this occurs throughout the entire piece. As example when Peter has denied Christ for the third time he goes to the garden to weep and when the veil of the temple is rent (both additions from the Matthew gospel) to the brutal suffering of Jesus on the cross with the plaintive aria "Ach, mein Sinn" or the painful aria "Erwage wie sein blutgefarbter Rucken" with the desperate cries of the chorus "Wohin?, Wohin?" This is high drama and as theatrical as it gets.
The musicians involved are all splendid in their rolls. I can't imagine a better Evangelist than Kurt Equiluz and the Jesus of Robert Moll is a pillar of strength.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Walkowski on September 24, 2007
This is a 2007 DVD release of a concert recorded in 1985 at the beautiful Graz Gothic-Baroque Cathedral of Austria. Though not in widescreen, this DVD makes up for its dated nature with smart performance and a score that is easily one of the better Biblical tributes that relies on arias, recitatives and chorale music. Bach's composition is opera-like, oratorio in nature, but unlike so many other Biblical tomes put to music, this one is much easier to listen to and enjoyable, uplifting and spiritual. The story here is not hell, fire and damnation, but suffering, rejection and sacrifice. St. John's Passion, based on the Gospel of St. John, with a few embellishments thrown in for dramatic impact, is an account of the crucifixion and events leading up to it, told through various vocal methods, and expressive instrumentation that focuses on the rhapsodic instead of the abstract to communicate its essential theme and storyline. Harnoncourt directs both a large Wagnerian chorus and boy's choir and elicits from each a rich, full sound that is paced well and cohesive, and gets from his ensemble cast fine performances throughout - although I always find oratorios somewhat static and stiffer than I think they need be, and in that regard this is no different from the rest. Still, this is a recording that many probably own and others may be considering and, as noted in another review, one can't go back and direct or film it differently. So, arguing whatever cinematic changes might have made this DVD better, is pointless. Musically, however, this is a grand effort and a huge success because of Bach's talent and ear for combining the message in a musical oratorio form that is both meaningful and enjoyable from beginning to end.
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