Johann Sebastian Bach – St. John Passion, BWV 245 – Munchener Bach-Chor, Munchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – St. John Passion, BWV 245 – Munchener Bach-Chor, Munchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 02:08:28 minutes | 4,85 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv Produktion
Recorded: München, Herkules-Saal, 1964

In his day, Karl Richter was considered a Bach ‘specialist.’ We accord that title nowadays, if at all, to purveyors of period performance practice–and rightly so. But there’s something to be gained by appreciating earlier conceptions of how this music should go. If you favor a more ‘traditional’ approach to Bach’s sacred music, featuring a large chorus, modern instruments and ‘operatic’-style singers, then you can’t do better than Richter’s 1964 account of the St. John Passion.

There are few Bach performances on record as compelling as this. Richter’s direction evinces a profound understanding of how Bach’s theological convictions informed his musico-dramatic treatment of the Passion story. He paces the sacred drama to perfection, particularly in the great trial scene that constitutes the central panel of Part II, in which he allows the intensity to build inexorably as the principal ‘characters’ (the turba being one of them) act out their preordained roles, as in a Greek tragedy. I know of no other conductor who highlights Bach’s text-painting so insightfully in such sections as the turba ‘Wir haben keinen König,’ the chorale ‘In meinen Herzens Gründen’ or the chorus of Roman centurians casting lots for Jesus’ robe (to cite just three among many such instances). Richter’s most impressive moment, however, comes at the very end of the piece, with his gradually intensifying, then near-apocalyptic account of ‘Ach, Herr, lass’ dein lieb’ Engelein.’ Once heard, never forgotten.

Richter’s noble conception of this work would be ineffectual if he didn’t have first-rate musicians to work with. But he does. The Munich Bach Choir, as usual, cover themselves in glory. For such a large group their rhythmic articulation and diction are phenomenal, as is their capacity for realizing the contrasting ‘affects’ inscribed in the various chorale settings interspersed throughout the work. The instrumental ensemble responds with extraordinary precision and élan to Richter’s often challenging tempos and careful highlighting of textural detail; obbligati are rendered with expressive phrasing and considerable virtuosity. Among the vocal soloists, Haefliger is a rivetingly dramatic narrator and Herman Prey a warmly human (if occasionally stentorian) Christus. If Lear and Töpper are less than idiomatic Bach singers, they project the texts of their arias with passionate conviction, and that counts for more, in the end, than stylistic accuracy. In the Bass arias, Keith Engen sings expressively, if a bit heavily; ‘Eilt, ihr angefocht’nen Seelen’ is particularly eloquent. (Johannes Climacus)

“Another historical performance, this one from Karl Richter, offers a marked contrast to modern, sparer accounts; it may not pass muster as an ‘authentic’ Passion but it’s a committed and engaging one, not lightly to be dismissed.”

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
St. John Passion, BWV 245
Part One
1 1. Chorus: “Herr, unser Herrscher” 00:11:09
2 2.-6. Recitative And Chorus: “Jesus ging mit seinen Jüngern”
/ “Jesum von Nazareth” / “Jesus spricht zu ihnen”
/ “Jesum von Nazareth” / “Jesus antwortete” 00:03:24
3 7. Choral: “O grosse Lieb” 00:01:18
4 8. Recitative: “Auf dass das Wort erfüllet würde” 00:01:28
5 9. Choral: “Dein Will geschehe” 00:01:03
6 10. Recitative: “Die Schar aber” 00:00:53
7 11. Aria: “Von den Stricken meiner Sünde” 00:04:56
8 12. Recitative: “Simon Petrus aber folgete Jesu nach” 00:00:20
9 13. Aria: “Ich folge dir gleichfalls” 00:03:51
10 14. Recitative: “Derselbige Jünger war dem Hohenpriester bekannt” 00:04:11
11 15. Choral: “Wer hat dich so geschlagen” 00:02:03
12 16.-18. Recitative And Chorus: “Und Hannas sandte ihn gebunden”
/ “Bist du nicht seiner Jünger einer?” / “Er leugnete aber” 00:02:33
13 19. Aria: “Ach, mein Sinn” 00:03:06
14 20. Choral: “Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück” 00:01:17
Part Two
15 21. Choral: “Christus, der uns selig macht” 00:01:08
16 22.-26. Recitative And Chorus: “Da führten sie Jesum von Kaiphas”
/ “Wäre dieser nicht ein Übeltäter” / “Da sprach Pilatus”
/ “Wir dürfen niemand töten” 00:05:02
17 27. Choral: “Ach grosser König” 00:01:54
18 28.-30. Recitative And Chorus: “Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm”
/ “Nicht diesen, sondern Barrabam” / “Barrabas aber war ein Mörder” 00:02:37
19 31. Arioso: “Betrachte, meine Seel” 00:03:00
20 32. Aria: “Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken” 00:07:45
21 33.-39. Recitative And Chorus:”Und die Kriegsknechte”
/ “Sei gegrüsset, lieber Judenkönig” / “Und gaben ihm backenstreiche”
/ “Kreuzige, kreuzige” / “Pilatus sprach” 00:06:50
22 40. Choral: “Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn” 00:00:58
23 41.-47.Recitative And Chorus: “Die Juden aber schrien” / “Lässest du diesen los”
/ “Da Pilatus” / “Weg, weg mit dem” / “Spricht Pilatus” / “Wir haben keinen König” 00:04:40
24 48. Aria With Chorus: “Eilt, ihr angefochtenen Seelen” / “Wohin?” 00:04:57
25 49.-51. Recitative And Chorus: “Allda kreuzigten sie ihn”
/ “Schreibe nicht: der Juden König” / “Pilatus antwortete” 00:02:16
26 52. Choral: “In meines Herzens Grunde” 00:01:07
27 53.-55. Recitative And Chorus: “Die Kriegsknechte aber” / “Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen”
/ “Auf das erfüllet würde die Schrift” 00:04:35
28 56. Choral: “Er nahm alles wohl in acht” 00:01:16
29 57. Recitative: “Und von Stund an” 00:01:53
30 58. Aria: “Es ist vollbracht” 00:06:30
31 59. Recitative: “Und neigte das Haupt” 00:00:34
32 60. Aria With Choral: “Mein teurer Heiland” / “Jesu, der du warest tot” 00:05:04
33 61. Recitative: “Und siehe da, der Vorhang” 00:00:34
34 62. Arioso: “Mein Herz, in dem die ganze Welt” 00:00:58
35 63. Aria: “Zerfliesse, mein Herze” 00:06:19
36 64. Recitative: “Die Juden aber” 00:02:24
37 65. Choral: “O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn” 00:01:08
38 66. Recitative: “Darnach bat Pilatum Joseph von Arimathia” 00:02:25
39 67. Chorus: “Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine” 00:08:18
40 68. Chroral: “Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein” 00:02:44

Evelyn Lear, soprano
Hertha Töpper, contralto
Ernst Haefliger, tenor
Hermann Prey, baritone
Kieth Engen, bass
Münchener Bach-Chor
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Karl Richter, conductor


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