Ton Koopman

Bach: Matthäus Passion [2005]

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Bach: Matthäus Passion [2005] Review

by James Leonard

Ton Koopman has recorded Bach's St. Matthew Passion twice, and in many ways, he seems to have changed his mind about the work. His 1992 recording for Erato was, for an original instrument/historically informed performance, large in scale, broad in scope, dramatic in execution, and heavy in sound. This, his 2005 recording for Antonie Marchand, is likewise an original instrument/historically informed performance, but it is more intimate in scale, more concentrated in scope, and lighter in sound. But, even with these changes, Koopman's second Matthew Passion is not only still dramatic in execution, it is far more dramatic in execution, and thus in its way even more compelling. Musically, both performances are superb. Both times, Koopman uses his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, a strong and supple instrument completely responsive to his direction, but the later recording's smaller-sized ensemble makes the music sound just as colorful but clearer and more light-filled. Except for bass Klaus Mertens, Koopman uses entirely different but equally effective soloists for each recording, but with slightly quicker tempos and more pointed recitatives, the later soloists are much more dramatically effective. Koopman's interpretation has not fundamentally changed -- clearly, he still views the work as the most sublime and transcendent sacred musical work in the history of humanity, a view both performances are highly persuasive in arguing -- but he here seems to view the work as all that plus a compelling drama. For listeners who grew up with the Karajan or Solti recordings of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, the idea of an original instrument/ istorically informed performance being described as large, broad, or heavy may seem unlikely, and they are advised to seek out Koopman's 1992 recording for evidence to the contrary. But for listeners who already accept original instrument/historically informed performances and who are looking for a recording that emphasizes the work's dramatic qualities, the 2005 Koopman is the one to hear.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion), for soloists, double chorus & double orchestra, BWV 244 (BC D3b)
1 Ton Koopman 06:58 Amazon
2 Ton Koopman 00:38 Amazon
3 Ton Koopman 00:41 Amazon
4 Ton Koopman 00:22 Amazon
5 Ton Koopman 00:12 Amazon
6 Ton Koopman 00:25 Amazon
7 Ton Koopman 00:24 Amazon
8 Ton Koopman 01:16 Amazon
9 Ton Koopman 00:47 Amazon
10 Ton Koopman 03:55 Amazon
11 Ton Koopman 00:35 Amazon
12 Ton Koopman 04:35 Amazon
13 Ton Koopman 00:12 Amazon
14 Ton Koopman 00:21 Amazon
15 Ton Koopman 00:59 Amazon
16 Ton Koopman 00:09 Amazon
17 Ton Koopman 00:11 Amazon
18 Ton Koopman 00:42 Amazon
19 Ton Koopman 02:47 Amazon
20 Ton Koopman 01:16 Amazon
21 Ton Koopman 03:23 Amazon
22 Ton Koopman 01:00 Amazon
23 Ton Koopman 00:55 Amazon
24 Ton Koopman 00:53 Amazon
25 Ton Koopman 00:54 Amazon
26 Ton Koopman 01:39 Amazon
27 Ton Koopman 01:45 Amazon
28 Ton Koopman 05:06 Amazon
29 Ton Koopman 00:37 Amazon
30 Ton Koopman 00:53 Amazon
31 Ton Koopman 03:55 Amazon
32 Ton Koopman 01:05 Amazon
33 Ton Koopman 00:47 Amazon
34 Ton Koopman 02:02 Amazon
35 Ton Koopman 03:22 Amazon
36 Ton Koopman 01:03 Amazon
37 Ton Koopman 01:55 Amazon
38 Ton Koopman 05:46 Amazon
39 Ton Koopman 03:55 Amazon
40 Ton Koopman 00:51 Amazon
41 Ton Koopman 00:34 Amazon
42 Ton Koopman 01:03 Amazon
43 Ton Koopman 01:01 Amazon
44 Ton Koopman 03:18 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion), for soloists, double chorus & double orchestra, BWV 244 (BC D3b)
1 Ton Koopman 01:11 Amazon
2 Ton Koopman 00:10 Amazon
3 Ton Koopman 00:13 Amazon
4 Ton Koopman 00:18 Amazon
5 Ton Koopman 00:43 Amazon
6 Ton Koopman 00:47 Amazon
7 Ton Koopman 00:10 Amazon
8 Ton Koopman 01:10 Amazon
9 Ton Koopman 06:08 Amazon
10 Ton Koopman 00:48 Amazon
11 Ton Koopman 00:50 Amazon
12 Ton Koopman 00:06 Amazon
13 Ton Koopman 00:39 Amazon
14 Ton Koopman 02:46 Amazon
15 Ton Koopman 01:55 Amazon
16 Ton Koopman 00:55 Amazon
17 Ton Koopman 01:53 Amazon
18 Ton Koopman 00:19 Amazon
19 Ton Koopman 00:43 Amazon
20 Ton Koopman 00:17 Amazon
21 Ton Koopman 01:09 Amazon
22 Ton Koopman 04:57 Amazon
23 Ton Koopman 00:04 Amazon
24 Ton Koopman 00:17 Amazon
25 Ton Koopman 00:25 Amazon
26 Ton Koopman 00:35 Amazon
27 Ton Koopman 00:27 Amazon
28 Ton Koopman 01:02 Amazon
29 Ton Koopman 05:31 Amazon
30 Ton Koopman 00:34 Amazon
31 Ton Koopman 00:09 Amazon
32 Ton Koopman 00:21 Amazon
33 Ton Koopman 02:06 Amazon
34 Ton Koopman 00:54 Amazon
35 Ton Koopman 00:36 Amazon
36 Ton Koopman 06:21 Amazon
37 Ton Koopman 01:28 Amazon
38 Ton Koopman 00:23 Amazon
39 Ton Koopman 00:07 Amazon
40 Ton Koopman 00:42 Amazon
41 Ton Koopman 00:14 Amazon
42 Ton Koopman 01:23 Amazon
43 Ton Koopman 03:23 Amazon
44 Ton Koopman 01:20 Amazon
45 Ton Koopman 00:04 Amazon
46 Ton Koopman 00:12 Amazon
47 Ton Koopman 00:08 Amazon
48 Ton Koopman 00:28 Amazon
49 Ton Koopman 01:09 Amazon
50 Ton Koopman 00:59 Amazon
51 Ton Koopman 00:16 Amazon
52 Ton Koopman 01:00 Amazon
53 Ton Koopman 01:49 Amazon
54 Ton Koopman 06:02 Amazon
55 Ton Koopman 00:49 Amazon
56 Ton Koopman 00:46 Amazon
57 Ton Koopman 00:34 Amazon
58 Ton Koopman 02:01 Amazon
59 Ton Koopman 05:18 Amazon
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