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George Chien
Fanfare, September 2016

St. John is the more dramatic of the Passions, and Peter Dykstra leads a gripping, almost operatic performance, from the stark opening chorus, fraught with pain, to the triumphant closing chorale. Julian Prégardien is an ardent—one might say passionate—Evangelist. Tareq Nazmi is a tower of strength as Jesus. The moderately sized chorus, especially in portraying the crowds, is a powerful contributor to the drama. The solo quartet is no less effective. This is not a performance for the faint of heart. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Stephen Francis Vasta
Opera News, September 2016

…Dijkstra lets the choral interpolations fill out the textures supportively…

…Dijkstra is apt to take extended pauses for reflection, not only between numbers but occasionally between sections of recitative. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review

William J Gatens
American Record Guide, July 2016

The soloists are very good, …Bass Tareq Nazmi has the dignified gravity for the role of Jesus. One of the most beautiful aria performances here is by alto Ulrike Malotta, whose rich tone and vocal control make ‘Es ist Vollbracht’ from Part II deeply moving. Soprano Christina Landshamer is clear and lithe in the athletic lines of ‘Ich Folge dir’. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Vickers
Gramophone, May 2016

The Bavarian Radio Chorus’s disciplined precision in vigorous fugues and vividly characterised turba choruses will appeal to those who like some old-fashioned gutsiness and broad sonorities aligned to period-instrument textures directed with a sure hand.

Julian Prégardien’s authoritative Evangelist drips with integrity and sensitivity as each stage of the Passion demands. His honeyed delivery of Peter’s bitter weeping is breathtaking, and the rending of the Temple has booming ominousness…

Tareq Nazmi’s resonant bass is a bolder Christus than one often hears. Christina Landshamer’s lithe singing in ‘Ich folge dir gleichfalls’ is an ideal match for the warm texture of two unison flutes with firmly bowed string basses and archlute continuo. Dijkstra’s use of contrafagotto…creates an enthralling texture in support of Krešimir Stražanac’s compassionate singing. The tender partnership between mezzo-soprano Ulrike Malotta and Jan Freiheit’s viola da gamba obbligato in ‘Es ist vollbracht’ is contrasted with brightly valorous violins in the fast section. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone, April 2016

Dijkstra has clearly studied the score with care, and the precision of singing and playing here makes this a first-class reading… © 2016 Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, April 2016

The…most consistent asset of the recording is Julian Prégardien’s Evangelist, who tells the story like an Everyman who is on our side, interpreting it humanely so as to help us to understand and empathise with it. The Christ of Tareq Nazmi is also deeply affecting, conveying strength and otherness but also a deep humanity that brings him close to our experience.

The other soloists are very fine, too. Christina Landshamer has a ripe, pure voice that makes her ideal for the great penitential aria Zerflieβe, mein Herze, as well as vigorous in Ich folge dir gleichfalls. Ulrike Malotta sings with heartfelt commitment in Von den Stricken and rises convincingly to the climax of Es ist vollbracht. …Krešimir Stražanac is driven and involved in Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen and much more meditative in Mein teurer Heiland where the accompanying chorale sounds almost like a lullaby.

The orchestra sound sweet and attractive, with the period instruments bringing benefits of clarity without the demerits of abrasiveness. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, March 2016

Such a highly progressive work for its time, Bach’s St. John Passion, full of terror and menace, communicates a stark message. Dijkstra does indeed step forward with an inspirationally intense performance that made me regret not being in the splendid Herkulessaal for this sacred masterwork. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, February 2016

An outstanding Evangelist, good soloists, the excellent singers from Bayerischer Rundfunk and the once more superb Concerto Köln conducted by Peter Dijkstra, give a very dramatic account of Bach’s St John Passion. © 2016 Pizzicato

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