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Matthew Gurewitsch
Opera News, August 2013

BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, I. Fischer) (NTSC) 101676
BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, I. Fischer) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 108075

…the Concertgebouw team, led by Iván Fischer, needs fear comparison with no one, and the involvement and concentration the camera discovers on the musicians’ faces tell an eloquent story.

You’ll see no playacting here. You’ll hear no reaching for pitches, no smudging of the little notes. The performers—instrumentalists and vocalists alike—merely execute their assignments as immaculately and expressively as they know how.

The eight artists’ voices are lean, even, and transparent yet distinctive. All articulate with the clarity of virtuoso instrumentalists. All own the text. Each deserves individual appreciation…

Padmore’s Evangelist recites gospel with unsurpassed sensitivity, maintaining his unpinched, sunny timbre even in the incessant top notes of his wickedly high-lying recitatives. Harvey’s Christus seeks majesty in plain-spoken gentleness and never fails to find it. The men’s arias and arioso bring into play their poetic phrasing and the full sheen of their voices. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

Anne Shelley
Music Media Monthly, July 2013

This live recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion…features the fabulous Mark Padmore as the Evangelist. Overall the performance is extremely professional. Padmore and the other soloists rarely look at the score, and the children’s chorus goes without scores completely. The recurring chorales are reverent and solemn. When the work calls for tutti, all ensembles create a glorious wall of sound that’s much greater than you’d think is possible. The videography is unobtrusively lovely, and the audio is very fine. The soloists and choirs can be heard easily above the instrumentalists. This is an excellent performance…clean and moving, and I highly recommend it. © 2013 Music Media Monthly Read complete review

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

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, June 2013

The playing is uniformly stylish and pleasing. In particular there are some excellent obbligato contributions, notably from the oboist in ‘Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen’ and from the violinist in ‘Erbarme dich’…I greatly enjoyed the instrumental side of this performance.

The singing also gives much pleasure. Fischer has a fine team of aria soloists, among whom Ingebord Danz is outstanding. Every one of her solos is sung with lovely tone, a fine sense of line and great poise. Soprano Maria Espada offers committed singing…the solo flute is superb…The other aria soloists all do well.

Peter Harvey is a dignified and expressive Christus. His voice seems to me to have just the right degree of weight…He sings all his recitatives most intelligently…His expressive style and evenly produced voice give great pleasure; the gamba player supports him splendidly.

As the Evangelist, Mark Padmore is simply outstanding. His narration draws the listener in and he weights every syllable—and every pause—beautifully. His voice mixes plangency with an inner steel that is an ideal combination for an Evangelist. He’s often very moving…Padmore is surely one of the finest Evangelists of our day.

The chorus work is very good. The Netherlands Radio Choir numbers about forty singers and they are precise and accomplished in everything they do…Overall…Bach’s choral music is well served. The National Children’s Choir make a fine contribution.

Fischer paces Bach’s music very well and conducting the work is clearly an experience that means quite a lot to him. I’d describe his way with the music as essentially lyrical and reflective. Overall, I found Fischer’s direction of the score was convincing and stylish.

The sound on these DVDs is very good and the camera work is good and unfussy. The camera direction is, in the best sense of the word, straightforward and the viewer’s attention is never distracted by gimmickry or by inapposite shots.

I enjoyed this version of Bach’s masterpiece very much. These DVDs are well worth seeking out. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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