J S Bach, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert, Hermann Max - Johannes-Passion

Published Saturday 15th September 2007
J S Bach, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert, Hermann Max - Johannes-Passion
J S Bach, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert, Hermann Max - Johannes-Passion

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 31765-14991
LABEL: CPO 7770912

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Johann Sebastian Bach's setting of Matthew's version of the Passion of the Christ is one of the most recorded pieces in the choral repertoire. By contrast, Bach's take on John's version is less popular although there is still a wide choice of memorable recordings to suit all budgets. This Hybrid SACD (playable on standard CD players) is the version edited by the Romantic pianist and composer Robert Schumann in 1851. The detailed notes by Thomas Synofzik tell the full story so I will move straight to the criticism. It is Bach but not quite, if you know what I mean. Johann Sebastian was not and never could be described as a Romantic composer, which is not to say that Schumann has spoiled the Johannes-Passion but rather to warn the uninitiated what to expect. The drama of the Gospel story is still here and Bach's beautiful melodies are untouched but Schumann has moved the work away from an act of worship closer towards becoming entertainment. Rheinische Kantorei sing well and the musicianship of Das Kleine Konzert is more than adequate but one is left with the feeling that it is not quite Bach.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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