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J. S. Bach: St. John Passion
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Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 13-JUN-1995
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful recording but I was disapointed that it was sung in English and not in German as Bach had intended.Published on May 4, 2014 by Robert A. Busillo
While the St. John Passion is a powerful work that glorifies God; it also is a deep expression of humanity. Read morePublished on November 9, 2013 by Joe Anthony
This recording was highly praised when it first appeared, but it hasn't worn too well. It all sounds a bit staid, and the sound is thick. Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Stanley Crowe
I was taking an adult ed class on Bach, and this CD was recommended. It was an excellent choice.Published on April 20, 2011 by Doug
I HAD NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE. HOWEVER, IT IS VERY MOVING AND INSPIRITATIONAL. VERY PLEASEDPublished on May 3, 2009 by william r. phillips
Bach's Passions haven't made their way in English translations for the same reason that Messiah hasn't made its way in German: the text is inextricably tied to the original... Read morePublished on December 25, 2007 by Santa Fe Listener
I must disagree with my fellow reviewers. Although I find Britten's general direction quite excellent, there are a few recording issues that interfere with the music. Read morePublished on August 29, 2006 by H. Borgstrom