horizontal line

Although Johann Ernst Bach’s Passion Oratorio is to some extent influenced by that of his uncle and godfather Johann Sebastian Bach (such as using chromaticism at significant points in the text), it differs in using empfindsamer Stil in its restrained portrayal of the story. The construction of the text by an unknown librettist omits turba choruses and also the role of Evangelist, which influences the form of the work. Lacking the dramatic scenes of the St Matthew and St John Passions, secco recitative plays only a minor part and is replaced by accompanied recitative, perceptively sung by Barbara Schlick, David Cordier, Christoph Prégardien and Stephen Varcoe. The work is in seven separate episodes: Gethsemane, The Arrest, Trial and Sentence, Scourging and Crown of Thorns, Carrying the Cross, Crucifixion and Death, Eschatological Outlook. Although the interpretation is not overly dramatic, it never lacks emotion, and contrasting moods are insightfully portrayed by all the performers. Prégardien and Cordier are particularly outstanding, as is the beautifully phrased playing of Das Kleine Konzert.

Also on this release are Das Vertrauen der Christen auf Gott (an adaptation of the 77th Psalm for chorus and tenor) and a setting of the Magnificat, Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn. In these works the chorus comes into its own: the former contains multi-textured choral writing, and there is some fine polyphony in the Magnificat. Rheinische Kantorei gives a lyrical and expressive performance throughout.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Choir & Organ, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing