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Dacapo - The National Music Anthology of Denmark

Format:  CD

Catalogue Number:  8.226094

Barcode:  636943609422

Release Date:  Jan 2011

Period:  Baroque


Heinrich Schütz: Matthäus-Passion

01 June 2011  Gramophone
David Vickers

 In 17th-century Dresden, musical instruments were required to remain silent at the court chapel during Holy Week, so the voices of Schütz's St Matthew Passion are entirely unaccompanied. All of the narrative by the Evangelist and contributions from individual characters are intoned chants, and only the introit, crowd scenes and conclusion are set in harmonic polyphony. Within such austere parameters Schütz creates a narrative that is poignant and solemn, but as natural consequence the occasional unfolding into harmony acquires enhanced dramatic potency (the multitude shouting at Pilate to free Barabbas) or profound beauty (the soldiers acknowledging "Truly this was the Son of God"). Hillier recorded Schütz's St Matthews Passion with the Hilliard Ensemble for EMI moons ago (nla) and his return to it completes Ars Nova Copenhagen's exceptional series of the Dresden Kapellmeister's narrative works.

Julian Podger's Evangelist and Jakob Bloch Jespersen's Jesus are authoritative, particularly in the compelling emotive section around Christ's "Eli, Eli, lama asabthani?". Individual step-outs ensure that chanting is dramatically engaged and the consort singing is flawless.



This is an extract from a double-review in Gramophone, June 2011.

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