J.S. Bach: Johannes Passion (2)

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach
Artist Hallenser Madrigalistenchoir
Virtuosi Saxoniae
Ludwig Güttler conductor
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 95108
EAN code 5028421951089
Release February 2015

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About this release

J.S. Bach composed his St John Passion during his first winter in Leipzig, in advance of the Good Friday Vespers service of 1724. It is written for an intimate ensemble (much more modest than the scoring of his later St Matthew Passion) and was originally to be performed in the Thomaskirche, being moved to the Nikolaikirche at short notice. The music is a vivid representation of Christ’s Passion as told in St John’s Gospel, constructed of recitatives and choruses, with commentary in reflective chorales, ariosos and arias. The music is, by nature of the story, inherently dramatic, and tells the story of Jesus’ death through the words of the Evangelist (tenor), Christ (bass) and a number of smaller roles including Pilate and Peter. Few who attended the service in the Nikolaikirche can have experienced, outside of the opera house, a work on the scale of the St John Passion, one that included such a large proportion of recitative. Today it, together with the St Matthew Passion, is regarded as a masterpiece of devout Lutheran church music, but in its day it must have sounded radical. That being said, the chorales (or “hymns”) within the work were designed to involve everyone in the performance, and these would have been familiar to the congregation (Melchior Vulpius’s melody, for instance) – whether or not they ended up singing them. Some of the most affective moments of the work occur in these chorales as well as in the arias, which are remarkable for their range of expression as well as their instrumentation. Take, for instance, the poignant use of the bass viol in the accompaniment of Jesus’ last words on the cross in the expressive aria ‘Es ist vollbracht’. A masterpiece of expression and theatricality such as the St John Passion requires a masterful interpretation; in this recording, under the baton of Ludwig Güttler – who shot to fame as a Baroque trumpeter – the Hallenser Madrigalisten and Virtuosi Saxoniae rise to the challenge, giving a “technically accomplished and
expressive” performance (Gramophone). They are joined by acclaimed tenor Christoph Genz in the role of the Evangelist and Egbert Junghanns as Jesus.
Bach’s Johannes Passion may be on a smaller scale than the Matthäus Passion, it is by no means less monumental or dramatic. This reissue of a Berlin Classics recording achieves with its relatively small ensemble and choir an intimate yet powerful performance in which the drama of Christ’s suffering is presented in deeply moving arias and chorales.
Played on modern instruments the Virtuosi Saxoniae under Ludwig Güttler adhere to the principles of Historically Informed Performance Practice. The soloists include Christoph Genz, Christiane Oelze and Egbert Junghanns.
Full sung texts are available on www.brilliantclassics.com.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorus. “Herr, unser Herrscher”
  2. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Jesus ging mit seinen Jüngern”
  3. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorus. “Jesum von Nazareth!”
  4. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Jesus spricht zu ihnen”
  5. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorus. “Jesum von Nazareth!”
  6. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Jesus antwortete”
  7. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorale. “O große Lieb’”
  8. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Auf daß das Wort erfüllet würde”
  9. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorale. “Dein Will gescheh, Herr Gott, zugleich”
  10. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Die Schar aber und der Oberhauptmann”
  11. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Aria. “Von den Stricken meiner Sünden”
  12. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Simon Petrus aber folgete Jesu nach”
  13. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Aria. “Ich folge dir gleichfalls”
  14. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Derselbige Jünger war dem Hohepriester bekannt”
  15. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorale. “Wer hat dich so geschlagen”
  16. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Und Hannas sandte ihn gebunden”
  17. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorus. “Bist du nicht seiner Jünger einer?”
  18. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Recitative. “Er leugnete aber”
  19. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Aria. ”Ach, mein Sinn”
  20. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 1: Chorale. “Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück”
  21. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “Christus, der uns selig macht”
  22. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da führeten sie Jesum”
  23. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Wäre dieser nicht ein Übeltäter”
  24. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da sprach Pilatus zu ihnen”
  25. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Wir dürfen niemand töten”
  26. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Auf daß erfüllet würde das Wort Jesu”
  27. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “Ach großer König”
  28. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm”
  29. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Nicht diesen, sondern Barrabam!”
  30. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Barrabas aber war ein Mörder”
  31. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Arioso. “Betrachte, meine Seel”
  32. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Aria. “Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken”

Disk 2

  1. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative . “Und die Kriegsknechte flochten”
  2. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Sei gegrüßet, lieber Jüdenkönig!”
  3. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Und gaben ihm Backenstreiche”
  4. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Kreuzige, kreuzige!”
  5. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Pilatus sprach zu ihnen”
  6. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Wir haben ein Gesetz”
  7. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da Pilatus das Wort hörete”
  8. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn”
  9. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Die Juden aber schrieen – Lässest du diesen los”
  10. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da Pilatus das Wort hörete”
  11. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Weg, weg mit dem”
  12. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Spricht Pilatus zu ihnen”
  13. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Wir haben keinen König”
  14. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Da überantwortete er ihn”
  15. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Aria. “Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen”
  16. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Allda kreuzigten sie ihn”
  17. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Schreibe nicht. der Jüden König”
  18. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Pilatus antwortet”
  19. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “In meines Herzens Grunde”
  20. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Die Kriegsknechte aber”
  21. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen”
  22. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Auf daß erfüllet würde die Schrift”
  23. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “Er nahm alles wohl in acht”
  24. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Und von Stund an”
  25. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Aria. “Es ist vollbracht!”
  26. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Und neiget das Haupt und verschied”
  27. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Aria. “Mein teurer Heiland”
  28. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Und siehe da”
  29. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Arioso. “Mein Herz, indem die ganze Welt”
  30. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Aria. “Zerfließe, mein Herze”
  31. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Die Juden aber”
  32. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn”
  33. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Recitative. “Darnach bat Pilatum”
  34. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorus. “Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine”
  35. Johannes Passion, BWV 245, Pt. 2: Chorale. “Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein”