Having performed both the St Matthew and St John Passions in a choir, I am very fond of both works, while I have wonderful memories of performing St John Passion, for reasons I can't explain I find myself listening to St Matthew Passion more.
This is a wonderful performance. The whole thing sounds great, and the camera work is interesting and wonderfully theatrical, though I could have done with less of the behind shots. The music is phenomenal, and brought with real emotion and intensity by the orchestra(the violin section are particularly really something and I loved the extravagant use of the harpsichord) and a conducting job done with real precision and passion from Karl Richter.
The singing is superb, the chorus are very well-balanced, pitched and musical, and the soloists are even better. Ernst Gerold Schramm is a commanding Jesus, and Siegmund Nimsgurn is interesting in four different roles. Horst Laubenthal has a good tenor voice and sings musically.
Best are Peter Schreier, Julia Hamari and Walter Berry. Schreier's interpretation of the Evangelist is very nuanced and moving, while Hamari is just magnificent. Berry is my personal favourite soloist, Komm, Suses Kreuze has a snarling yet weeping quality to it, and apart from one phrase being out of time perhaps due to him running out of breath, his Mache Dich Mein Herze Rein is superb.
All in all, wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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