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John Guarente
Choral Journal, November 2013

BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Biller) (NTSC) ACC-20256
BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Biller) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10256

Wolfram Lattke’s Evangelist is clear and consistent. Stefan Kahle’s alto arias are pure and never strained…As expected, the Thomanerchor prove themselves experts at leaning into dissonances and creating excitement in the turba choruses.

Conductors who wish to become adept at performing the later sacred works of Bach would do well to study this video, as the manner in which Georg Christoph Biller deals with accompanied recitative is about as practical as it gets. The boys of Thomanerchor are brought up to sing this music, and having the proud results of this venerable institution available on two discs is a rare treat. © 2013 Choral Journal

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, February 2013

Musically there is an astounding variety of instrumentation and carefully formed accompaniment for each piece…

The playing of the Gewandhaus is simply gorgeous, and the singers not far behind. If a concert performance of this work interests you, the performance is wonderful and the stunning visuals of Bach’s Thomaskirche make for a fine coat of icing on the cake. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Stephen Francis Vasta
Opera News, January 2013

BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Biller) (NTSC) ACC-20256
BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion (Biller) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10256

Georg Christoph Biller’s straightforward, flowing tempos have just enough breadth to convey the appropriate dignity for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion…He’s sensitive to matters of pacing, maintaining the sense of momentum through the various transitions among recitatives, choral interjections and set pieces. In Biller’s hands, this St. Matthew is not just an extended act of reverence but a real liturgical drama. He’s got the chorus of men and boys trained nicely. Their sound, whether in homogeneous chorales or in busy counterpoint, is full-bodied yet transparent; even the altos…register clearly within the textures.

The soloists are well chosen…Wolfram Lattke’s full-throated Evangelist, compelling and urgent, helps keep the show moving.

Klaus Mertens is a firm, dignified Jesus, responsive without turning sanctimonious. Bass Gotthold Schwarz sings…“Komm, süsses Kreuz” with legato and real sweetness.

The smaller roles…are taken by various members of the choir. They all sing competently…

The videography is conservative and…well judged…The sound is vivid… © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Tracks, December 2012

Accentus…take[s] you inside St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, for this performance of what is arguably the single greatest work of sacred drama by its former Director Musices, Johann Sebastian Bach. History seems to speak from every corner of this building, and the performers are deeply aware of that…I can’t help being charmed by the kids in the Thomanerchor, who exhibit the perfectly normal range of expressions that 11-year-olds will come up with over a three-hour period in a cramped choir loft. Wonderful stuff. Give yourself this experience. © 2012 PS Tracks Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2012

Recorded live at the St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, this performance is a great success in just about every respect…everyone sings splendidly here, and the members of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra play with accuracy and commitment under conductor Georg Christoph Biller, who is consistently able to infuse the music with energy and a sense for the work’s profundity and religiosity. Among the soloists, Christina Landshamer and Stefan Kahle are especially fine in their taxing roles. The St. Thomas Boys Choir is a highly respected ensemble, and it shows in their alertness to detail and spirited vocal manner.

There are, of course, dozens of recordings of the St. Matthew Passion…but this new Accentus Blu-ray disc features sound and camera work that are vastly superior…the acoustics in St. Thomas Church are first rate, and the placement of cameras there for this performance by Director Michael Beyer was obviously wisely done. Compared with live operas and other concerts on Blu-ray, this one, performed from the church’s loft, was recorded both sonically and visually about as well as any I’ve encountered.

In sum, it would be difficult to imagine a more convincing video offering of Bach’s magnificent work than this one from Accentus. Bach mavens and sacred music lovers should find this a most welcome addition to their libraries. This is a monument to Bach and to music! © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review

Lawrence Devoe, October 2012

In this 2012 performance, filmed fittingly in Bach’s own St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, and featuring the legendary boys’ choir, we are suddenly transported back three centuries.

Having only seen this work in a traditional orchestra hall, I was completely taken with the choir loft setting, its original staging. Michael Beyer, one of the best video directors around, gives us enough different angles, close-ups, and distance shots that the Passion becomes a dynamic rather than static work. Colors and details are well managed.

With a boys’ choir and relatively lighter-voiced soloists, accompanied by a period-appropriate orchestra, mostly strings, winds and church organ, one gets the ethereal quality of this sacred music. Instrumental details are easily heard against the backdrop of what is the wonderful acoustic of the St. Thomas Church.

From a performance standpoint, it is about as authentic a rendition as one is likely to get, considering the location, and orchestral and vocal forces. This is the only BD version, and it is visually and sonically stunning. The boys’ choir is something special…The soloists are adequate if not stellar while the instrumentalists, handpicked from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra are outstanding. Conductor Biller keeps things moving with a good pace and a light and loving hand…once this Passion got underway, I was completely absorbed, and, suddenly it seemed, two and half hours just flew away…this BD should go directly on your wish list. © 2012 Read complete review

Robert Benson, October 2012

Bach’s mighty sacred oratorio St. Matthew Passion has an eight-century association with Leipzig. This is a glorious performance of this music, vividly stunning with imaginative camera work, and excellent sound… all who love Bach’s masterpiece surely should investigate this “authentic” performance. © 2012 Read complete review

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