- Audio CD (Jan 1 1990)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 3
- Label: Universal Music Group
- ASIN: B0000057DG
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,970 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Chorus: Kommt, ihr Tochter, helft mir klagen, Choral: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig|
|2. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte|
|3. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Choral - Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du berbrochen|
|4. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Da versammleten sich die Hohenpriester, 4b. Ja nicht auf das Fest, 4c. Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien, 4d. Wozu dienet dieser Unrat?, 4e. Da das Jesus merkete|
|5. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Recitativo (Alt): Du lieber Heiland du|
|6. St. Matthew Passion: Part 1: Aria (Alt): Buss und Reu|
See all 29 tracks on this disc
|1. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Aria: Ach! nun ist mein Jesus Hin, Chorus: Wo ist denn dein Freund hingegangen|
|2. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten|
|3. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Choral: Mir hat die Welt truglich gericht'|
|4. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten|
|5. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Recitativo: Mein Jesus schweigt Zu falschen Lugen stille|
|6. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Aria: Geduld! Wenn mich falsche Zungen stechen|
See all 23 tracks on this disc
|1. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Da nahmen die Kriegsknechte, 53b. Gegrusset seist du, Judenkonig, 53c. Und speieten ihn an|
|2. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Choral: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden|
|3. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Und da sie ihn verspottet hatten|
|4. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Recitativo: Ja freilich will in uns das Fleisch und Blut|
|5. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Aria: Komm, susses Kreuz, so will ich sagen|
|6. St. Matthew Passion: Part Two: Und da sie an die Statte kamen, 58b. Der du den Tempel Gottes zerbrichst, 58c. Desgleichen auch die Hohenpriester, 58d. Andern hat er geholfen, 58e. Desgleichen schmaheten ihn auch die Morder|
See all 16 tracks on this disc
The piece is a deeply Christian one. It tells the story of the passion of Christ according to the gospel of Saint Matthew. The original title of the work was "The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Evangelist Matthew" (so the title "Saint Matthew Passion" is a little strange, since "Passion" derives from the Latin for 'I suffer' and Saint Matthew is definitely not the one suffering here). The libretto (written by a poet under the moniker 'Picander') follows the gospel of Matthew faithfully (oooh! A gut-wrenching pun! Sorry folks) with the addition of poetic (and, of course, musical) reflections following each section. These reflections are meant for the faithful, and their meaning and purpose come alive in this context. Typically, they are performed by a choir. The entire meaning and purpose of the work at large can also be elucidated by these collected reflections. Storytelling wasn't the only objective here, but also providing a deeply emotional forum for believers to reflect on their faith and their gratitude for the slain messiah's sacrifice. Being as it is, it is hard to extract this work from its Christian roots and intentions. But, and this goes with nearly all religious music, you don't have to be religious to appreciate the absolutely amazing, jaw dropping, spine-tingling music that seems to possess a direct connection to the human brain's pleasure centers. Nonetheless, knowing the religious background of the work will only heighten it's impressiveness for a listener and allow an extra dimension to enter into the music as the CDs spin.
There are some corollaries to opera in the structure of this piece. It is made up mainly of arias, choruses and recitatives. The recitatives are composed of both singing and half-sung half-spoken text. They move the story along quickly, whereas the arias and choruses heighten the meaning of the words with music, providing both emotional and reflectional background. The structure can sometimes be devastating. Recitatives can empty out into large choruses (the crowd scenes are particularly effective in this regard) or into heartbreaking arias (such as the one that depicts Peter's suffering as he realizes the depths of his betrayal). Overall, the structure works unbelieveably well in telling a story and creating an emotional response to the events that unfold. Reading the libretto in time to the music evokes this not so hidden structure, and is something every purchaser of this CD set should do at least once.
Bach was one of the best, and this work is arguably one of HIS best. Yes, it's that good. Some of the best music ever written is here ("Mache dich, mein Herze rein", sung before Christs's burial, is stunningly and almost painfully gut-wrenchingly beautiful - in the context of the work its effect triples).
All that said, if you're just discovering Bach, don't start here. This piece is truly overwhelming, like gazing down the main aisle of a huge cathedral. Start with some of his well-known Cantatas or organ works. The Saint Matthew Passion is a piece to be worked up to (the committment is well worth it, but if you're in a hurry there's also a highlights disc which compresses this 3 CD set down into a single disc).
This piece of music must be heard to be believed. This particular CD set has great sound quality, along with some great performers (Barbara Bonney, Anne Sofie Von Otter, to name a few). The CD booklet (or, more justly, book - it's 124 pages long!) has much background information, the entire libretto, and some facsimilies of the original score. After hearing this you'll definitely want to thank Felix Mendelson for creating the Bach revival that hasn't waned since 1829. Thanks, Felix! Now get listening!