Academy of Ancient Music

Bach: St. Matthew Passion

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This version of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, is led by British keyboardist Richard Egarr, increasingly often active as a conductor, at the helm of the venerable Academy of Ancient Music historical-instrument group. It has several distinctive features that more than justify a new recording of this towering work. Egarr reverts to the original 1727 score of the work, which has not often been recorded; most performances, naturally enough, use Bach's later revisions. The 1727 score is a sparer one in several respects, notably at the end of the first part, where Bach at first offered a simple chorale rather than the more elaborate chorus "O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß." It also has a single continuo line knitting together the whole work. Whatever one thinks of this, it fits well with Egarr's overall conception of the work, which sets emotionally direct performances by the very fine soloists against a driving, rather dry background. Egarr himself controls the whole thing from the harpsichord continuo. Sample some of the chorales, which Egarr quite ingeniously imports into the flow of the drama rather than making them moments of hymnlike repose. Moreover, the balance among Egarr's forces is beautifully done. He uses his own hand-trained Choir of the AAM made up of 20 voices for the two choirs: a size that strikes an ideal balance between severe one-voice-per-part approaches and gigantist Romantic choirs, but one that poses challenges for the singers. These are surmounted wonderfully by the choir, which achieves a rich, chamber-sized sound. This is a St. Matthew Passion that will bring new perspectives on the work, both in the musical material and in the overall interpretation. Fine engineering work from the AAM's own label team at the church of Saint-Jude-on-the-Hill in London, as well as an excellent booklet enclosed in hardcover binding, add to the appeal of the whole.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
1 06:24 Amazon
2 00:37 Amazon
3 00:33 Amazon
4 00:25 Amazon
5 00:13 Amazon
6 00:27 Amazon
7 00:26 Amazon
8 01:11 Amazon
9 00:53 Amazon
10 04:17 Amazon
11 00:35 Amazon
12 04:07 Amazon
13 00:12 Amazon
14 00:20 Amazon
15 01:07 Amazon
16 00:10 Amazon
17 00:09 Amazon
18 00:36 Amazon
19 02:38 Amazon
20 01:10 Amazon
21 03:23 Amazon
22 00:57 Amazon
23 00:51 Amazon
24 00:54 Amazon
25 00:51 Amazon
26 01:29 Amazon
27 01:34 Amazon
28 04:59 Amazon
29 00:35 Amazon
30 00:57 Amazon
31 04:13 Amazon
32 00:59 Amazon
33 00:51 Amazon
34 02:09 Amazon
35 03:19 Amazon
36 01:01 Amazon
37 01:58 Amazon
38 00:48 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
1 03:16 Amazon
2 01:04 Amazon
3 00:35 Amazon
4 01:04 Amazon
5 00:56 Amazon
6 03:31 Amazon
7 01:06 Amazon
8 00:10 Amazon
9 00:13 Amazon
10 00:18 Amazon
11 00:36 Amazon
12 00:54 Amazon
13 00:09 Amazon
14 01:16 Amazon
15 06:40 Amazon
16 00:47 Amazon
17 00:55 Amazon
18 00:07 Amazon
19 00:41 Amazon
20 02:36 Amazon
21 01:49 Amazon
22 00:49 Amazon
23 01:49 Amazon
24 00:15 Amazon
25 00:32 Amazon
26 00:14 Amazon
27 01:09 Amazon
28 05:03 Amazon
29 00:04 Amazon
30 00:14 Amazon
31 00:24 Amazon
32 00:38 Amazon
33 00:19 Amazon
34 00:58 Amazon
35 06:13 Amazon
36 00:36 Amazon
37 00:08 Amazon
38 00:12 Amazon
39 00:57 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
1 01:02 Amazon
2 00:31 Amazon
3 05:01 Amazon
4 01:42 Amazon
5 00:25 Amazon
6 00:09 Amazon
7 00:44 Amazon
8 00:14 Amazon
9 01:15 Amazon
10 02:49 Amazon
11 01:17 Amazon
12 00:04 Amazon
13 00:14 Amazon
14 00:05 Amazon
15 00:22 Amazon
16 01:01 Amazon
17 01:06 Amazon
18 00:16 Amazon
19 01:07 Amazon
20 01:45 Amazon
21 05:50 Amazon
22 00:59 Amazon
23 00:47 Amazon
24 00:33 Amazon
25 01:36 Amazon
26 05:08 Amazon
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