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Kirk McElhearn
MusicWeb International, August 2013

The two women, Lucy Crowe, soprano, and Christine Rice, mezzo-soprano, are both cut from the strongest yet finest cloth.

Tenor Werner Güra has the key role of The Evangelist, and is admirable as the one whose singing holds the work together. He brings sturdy dramatic tension to the table. Bass Stephen Morscheck, as Jesus, is firm and solid in his singing and recitatives, sounding more flexible than many performers in this role.

As for the other male soloists, tenor Nicholas Phan puts a great deal of emotion into his singing…

The choirs in this performance are very good…

A second disc, called The Journey, is a 52-minute documentary about the work, and about Nelson’s approach. It gives an interesting insight into what it takes to perform this work, and helps you understand how difficult it can be.

Overall, this is a visually appealing performance, with first rate musicians, and very well directed for the screen. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Derek Greten-Harrison
Opera News, August 2013

…this St. Matthew Passion is a strong entry in a sea of performances of the work currently available on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Conductor John Nelson’s mastery of Bach’s score is clearly evident, and watching him shape the performance is one of the DVD’s most interesting elements. Nelson is aided by superb playing from the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris…and the responsive choral contribution of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford and Maîtrise de Paris.

Heading the team of soloists is tenor Werner Güra as the Evangelist, a challenging role that requires stamina, an ability to sing in a relentlessly high tessitura, and—equally important—a compelling interpretation that brings the Passion story to life. Güra scores in all of these areas…Lucy Crowe brings a lovely voice and elegant musicality to the soprano solos…Mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, on the other hand, possesses both a gorgeous voice and a serene presence ideally suited to the religious nature of the work…

Stephen Morscheck’s stentorian Jesus is visually engaging…Bass-baritone Matthew Brook offers a thoughtful and committed reading of the bass arias… © 2013 Opera News Read complete review



Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Gramophone, July 2013

Nelson gets to the core of the work with his avuncular didacticism and genial control; and what characterful singing emerges from the evergreen Lucy Crowe…the natural and increasingly high-octane Evangelist of Werner Güra and Stephen Morscheck’s intense and patriarchal Christus, with Matthew Brook bringing his usual penetrative interpretation to proceedings. The last word goes to the fine Schola Cantorum of Oxford…who deliver…true characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail which fuels Nelson’s rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



William J Gatens
American Record Guide, July 2013

BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Nelson) (NTSC) 3079658
BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, I. Fischer) (NTSC) 101676

Here are two highly commendable DVDs of modern-instrument concert performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion…there is not a weak link in either team of vocal soloists, and the instrumental playing is outstanding in both. The instruments (apart from the viola da gamba in both cases) may be modern, but the playing is informed by current ideas about baroque performance style, so there is nothing stodgy or unduly ponderous in either reading. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, May 2013

This recently released duel DVD set from EuroArts captures a powerful staging of one of the composer’s surviving passions, St. Matthew Passion, performed by several ensembles and a cast of exceptional soloists directed by acclaimed conductor John Nelson. The performance itself…is a pristine, sublime evocation to divine inspiration…the vivid reproduction will be a treasure for collectors of the composer’s oeuvre, and sets the definitive standard for future productions of the sacred work. Transcendent. © 2013 Scene Magazine Read complete review



Infodad.com, March 2013

Soli Deo Gloria…has produced a remarkably fine two-DVD set in which all the soloists sing with dramatic intensity and a feeling of spiritual fervor, the choral parts are delivered with equal understanding of the words and of Baroque style, and the orchestral playing is simply wonderful—supportive always, taking the lead when it should, supple and energetic and heartfelt throughout. Werner Güra is highly expressive as the narrator, the Evangelist, while Stephen Morscheck manages to emphasize the human side of Jesus while never downplaying his inherent divine nature. The other soloists, their vocal ranges appropriately reflecting the total span of the human voice, are uniformly excellent. And so is the clarity of the high-definition recording, in which director Louise Narboni manages to keep the video of this live performance from 2011 as unintrusive into a listener’s/viewer’s experience as it can be. This is a first-rate performance in which the video elements, far from undermining the work’s effectiveness, actually enhance it—and that is a real rarity. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review






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5:07:32 AM, 12 July 2014
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