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J. S. Bach: St. John Passion

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 13-JUN-1995

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Sire, Lord And Master (Chorus)
  2. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Jesus Went With His Disciples (Recitative) et. al.
  3. St. John Passion, BWV 245: O Generous Love! (Chorale)
  4. St. John Passion, BWV 245: So That The Word Might Be Fulfilled (Recitative)
  5. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Thy Will Be Done, O God Of Love! (Chorale)
  6. St. John Passion, BWV 245: The Band Then, Together With The Captain (Recitative)
  7. St. John Passion, BWV 245: To Release Me From This Prison (Contralto Aria)
  8. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Simon Peter Also Followed (Recitative)
  9. St. John Passion, BWV 245: I'll Follow Thee Also (Soprano Aria)
  10. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Now That Same Disciple (Recitative)
  11. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Ah, Who Would Dare To Smite Thee? (Chorale)
  12. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Now Annas Sent Him Bound (Recitative) et. al.
  13. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Ah! Take Flight Away From Human Sight (tenor aria)
  14. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Peter, Who Denied His Lord (Chorale)
  15. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Christ, Who Gave Us Life And Light (Chorale)
  16. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Then Led They Jesus (Recitative) et. al.
  17. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Ah, King Of Heaven (Chorale)
  18. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And Pilate Said Unto Him (Recitative) et. al.
  19. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Look Yonder, O My Soul (Bass Arioso)
  20. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Consider, How His Body (Tenor Aria)

Disc: 2

  1. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And When The Soldiers (Recitative) et. al.
  2. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Thy Bonds, O Christ, Have Set Us Free (Chorale)
  3. St. John Passion, BWV 245: But The Jews Cried Out And Said (Recitative) et. al.
  4. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Haste, Ye Souls (Bass Aria With Chorus)
  5. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And There Crucified They Him (Recitative) et. al.
  6. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Within My Heart, O Savior (Chorale)
  7. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And Then Did The Soldiers (Recitative) et. al.
  8. St. John Passion, BWV 245: When His Life Had Reached Its End (Chorale)
  9. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And From That Hour (Recitative)
  10. St. John Passion, BWV 245: The End Nigh! (Contralto Aria) et. al.
  11. St. John Passion, BWV 245: My Dearest Savior (Bass Aria With Chorale)
  12. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And Then, Behold (Recitative)
  13. St. John Passion, BWV 245: My Heart, Behold How All The World (Tenor Arioso)
  14. St. John Passion, BWV 245: With Torrents Of Weeping (Soprano Aria)
  15. St. John Passion, BWV 245: The Jews, Therefore (Recitative)
  16. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Help Us, Son Of God Most High (Chorale)
  17. St. John Passion, BWV 245: And After This, Jospeh Of Arimathea (Recitative)
  18. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Farewell, O Broken, Weary Body (Chorus)
  19. St. John Passion, BWV 245: Lord Jesus, When We Come To Die (Chorale)

Disc: 3

  1. Sire, Lord and Master (chorus)
  2. Jesus went with His disciples (recitative) et. al.
  3. O generous love! (chorale)
  4. So that the word might be fulfilled (recitative)
  5. Thy will be done, o God of love! (chorale)
  6. The band then, together with the captain (recitative)
  7. To release me from this prison (contralto aria)
  8. Simon Peter also followed (recitative)
  9. I'll follow Thee also (soprano aria)
  10. Now that same disciple (recitative)
  11. Ah, who would dare to smite Thee? (chorale)
  12. Now Annas sent Him bound (recitative) et. al.
  13. Ah! take flight away from human sight (tenor aria)
  14. Peter, who denied his Lord (chorale)
  15. Christ, Who gave us life and light (chorale)
  16. Then led they Jesus (recitative) et. al.
  17. Ah, King of Heaven (chorale)
  18. And Pilate said unto Him (recitative) et. al.
  19. Look yonder, o my soul (bass arioso)
  20. Consider, how His body (tenor aria)

Disc: 4

  1. And when the soldiers (recitative) et. al.
  2. Thy bonds, o Christ, have set us free (chorale)
  3. But the Jews cried out and said (recitative) et. al.
  4. Haste, ye souls (bass aria with chorus)
  5. And there crucified they Him (recitative) et. al.
  6. Within my heart, o Savior (chorale)
  7. And then did the soldiers (recitative) et. al.
  8. When His life had reached its end (chorale)
  9. And from that hour (recitative)
  10. The end is nigh! (contralto aria) et. al.
  11. My dearest Savior (bass aria with chorale)
  12. And then, behold (recitative)
  13. My heart, behold how all the world (tenor arioso)
  14. With torrents of weeping (soprano aria)
  15. The Jews, therefore (recitative)
  16. Help us, Son of God most high (chorale)
  17. And after this, Jospeh of Arimathea (recitative)
  18. Farewell, o broken, weary body (chorus)
  19. Lord Jesus, when we come to die (chorale)


Product Details

  • Performer: Peter Pears, Gwynne Howell, John Shirley-Quirk, Heather Harper, Alfreda Hodgson, et al.
  • Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Benjamin Britten
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (June 13, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: London
  • ASIN: B00000425Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,476 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I resisted buying and then listening to this version of one of my favorite pieces of choral music. Why? Firstly, I already own 2 other fine versions and I thought that a translation into English from German would distort what Bach had wanted. I was wrong: if anything, the English language helped me get "into" the text more...and understand, perhaps, a bit more of what Bach wanted us to feel while listening. I also do not usually like the sound of a boychoir. Bach had written the work for boychoir, but most recordings (and live performances) use an adult female choir. In this recording, conductor Benjamin Britten chose to use the Wandsworth School Boys' Choir and they are exemplary: their voices never get into that whiny trebel we are used to hearing and their enunciation of the English language is beyond reproach. All of the soloists employed are stars in their own right and many of them had worked together with and for Britten before this recording. Peter Pears, of course, was Britten's partner/muse/lover and he is superb as "Evangelist." If you have ever heard Pears sing, you know that his quality is one that cannot be compared with anyone else's. He is a singular artist. Britten has melded this entire, difficult, gorgeous work of Bach's into a very moving experience. The sound on this double CD set, recorded almost 30 years ago, is bright and full and rich. Do yourself a favor and buy this sublime music in this wonderful performance. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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By A Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Ideally Bach's wonderful St.John Passion should be heard in the original German in order to fully appreciate the ideal marriage of text and music which makes Bach such a paragon of excellence amongst composers.There are some excellent versions available,and if I could gently push you in the direction of say Gardiner or Suzuki,then I would be satisfied that I've accomplished my good deed for the day.
However,sometimes it's nice to skip the language barrier and indulge yourself in a direct channel of communication via your own mother tongue.To that end,this 1971 performance under the sure-footed guidance of the esteemed composer Benjamin Britten is the best possible way to approach the marvels of the St.John without wrestling with translations as you go.
The recording is for the most part excellent,and is ideally full-bodied and intimate.There are a few thumps and bumps in the long opening chorale,"Sire,Lord and Master",but I don't feel this is too much of a distraction because of the panoply of beauty that awaits afterwards.
The all-important linking role of the Evangelist is given to Peter Pears,and no more sensitive interpreter of that crucial role will you find on record,I feel.He really does convey every emotional nuance of his recitatives quite brilliantly,and if you want a good example of his superb word-painting,just listen to the way he wrings all the heart-breaking tragedy of Peter's denial of Jesus out of just two words,"...wept bitterly",in No.18.Quite marvellous!
The choral element is given to the amazingly assured Wandsworth School Boy's choir under the direction of Russell Burgess,and it's hard to believe that they are (or were rather)just children.
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I usually resist Bach sacred music in English; the Passions, in particular, can sound uncomfortably like Monty Python's "Life of Brian" when rendered in oh-so-(in)correct BBC English. Moreover, Bach was alert to the distinctive timbres and rhythms of his native tongue (and in particular of Luther's Bible translation), and for this reason it is just as important to hear his Passions in the original German as it is to hear Janacek's operas in their original Czech.

On the other hand, a really good vernacular rendition by a musically sensitive translator can go a great distance toward capturing the distinctive inflections of the original text in the new language--and that is what Peter Pears and Imogen Holst have accomplished for Britten's famous rendition of Bach's *St John Passion.* Of course, even the most idiomatic of translations will remain ineffective in an earthbound performance--but that is certainly not the case here; for Britten was one of those multitalented composers who was also a gifted conductor. Indeed, few conductors--traditionally-minded or given to period manners--have penetrated so deeply into the core of Bach's terrifying but exultant vision of Christ crucified than Britten. Britten clearly grasps St. John's unique interpretation of the passion as simultaneously a humiliation and an exaltation: "When I am lifted up I shall draw all persons to myself."

Everyone--soloists, choir and EC0--respond with rapture to Britten's direction. Pears once again proves that he was one of the great exponents of the role of Evangelist. Howell portrays Jesus with authority, dignity and grace. The other soloists give of their best in the arias--particularly Hodgson.
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Conductor-Composer Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst took 15 years to mold this Bach Passion into a piece of reverence in Baroque music with an accurate and sublime English text. Britten as the conductor in this 1971 recording summons the brilliance of his cast, the Wandsworth Boy Choir, and the English Chamber Orchestra. This English version without a doubt rivals any of the German versions recorded with its regard for the technicality and grandeur of St. John's Passion.
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