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Matthäus Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach

Maarten Koningsberger
Jörg Dürmüller
Judith van Wanroij
Helena Rasker
The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Jan Willem de Vriend
Consensus Vocalis

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Stars 4/5
Diapason, 01-7-2015

''Here we have a ligt-footed, modern-instrument account which gently projects the textural divergence and melodic simplification of 'awkward' Baroque contours, although 'Erbarme dich' for soprano rather reverses the trend with its extrovert reworking''
GRAMOPHONE, 01-7-2015

''So this is not really an 1841 performance in the expected sense of the word, but a good and clear account of the 1841 Mendelssohn version on modern instruments, played with a good deal of awereness of historical performance style.''
Early Music Review , 01-6-2015

["].. So this is not really an 1841 performance in the expected sense of the word, but a good and clear account of the 1841 Mendelssohn version on modern instruments, played with a good deal of awareness of historical performance style."
Early Music Review, 01-6-2015

"Clearly, this can’t be a library choice for the Matthäus-Passion but it’s a valuable supplement to performances of Bach’s standard text. Yes, there are significant cuts but I would urge people to look beyond them and to experience Mendelssohn’s important evangelical work on Bach’s behalf for themselves. I don’t know if the Mendelssohn version has been recorded before – this isn’t claimed as a first recording – but opportunities to experience it will not come frequently and it is most interesting to hear."
Music Web International, 01-6-2015

"Overall this recording is very balanced and well-made."
Blog Ich habe gehört, 06-4-2015

"The ideal afterparty. Just at home on the couch and the new super audio cd by Jan Willem de Vriend."
De Gelderlander, 02-4-2015

"So for someone who delicious and shamelessly dares to indulge in the good voice in an on top and highly romantic translation of this adaptation."
Opus Klassiek, 01-4-2015

"Rarity value with clarinets, a choir with soloists in chorale melody."
NRC Handelsblad, 30-3-2015

"Orchestra and chorus meet excelent in this loving reconstruction of an important moment in music history."
Trouw, 27-3-2015

The most special version of the Matthaeus-Passion this year is an SACD where Jan Willem de Vriend on Challenge Classics presents a version by Mendelssohn of 1841, 23-3-2015

Interview Jan Willem de Vriend
Luister, 01-3-2015


On 11 March 1829 the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn conducted a performance of the St Matthew Passion, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, in the concert hall of the Singakademie in Berlin, almost 100 years after the work had last been played. Some 900 people were in attendance, and the performance was so successful that it was repeated twice, on 21 March and on Good Friday, 17 April 1829.

Mendelssohn was given the score of the St Matthew Passion for his 15th birthday, 3 February 1824.. He knew of the score as one of Zelter's pupils and as a member of the Singakademie, which had a few chorus parts from the St Matthew in its repertoire. Zelter, the conductor of the Singakademie, found the work too difficult to be performed in public. Mendelssohn, however, had a different opinion. In 1828 he set to work on the score, making changes in line with the day and age and the instruments then commonly used. Mendelssohn meant many of his changes to provide a better understanding of what, in his opinion, formed the heart of the passion story.

After its successes in Berlin, the St Matthew Passion was performed in a number of German cities. In 1841 Mendelssohn gave a performance in Leipzig, where he was then Kapellmeister, in the Thomaskirche, the church where the work had first been performed. For its performance in 1841, Mendelssohn again made alterations to the score, but fewer than in 1828/1829.

It is this version from 1841 that you will hear in this recording.
Mendelssohn was faced with a number of problems that made it quite difficult to perform the St Matthew Passion. For example, several instruments were no longer in general use: the oboe da caccia, the oboe d'amore, the gamba and the lute.

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