Mar 01

Bach, J.S., Matthäus Passion, Conducted by Karl Richter in 1971. ?????

Richter used an astonishing star-studded cast, including Helen Donath and Peter Schrier, to mention a few. This is not a live recording, but recorded in studio fashion. Richter, being indubitably one of the great Bach interpreters of the last century, sets a legacy for quality of performance of major Bach works. Richter uses entirely contemporary instrumentation, in contrast to many other performances which feel that original instrumentation is more pure or true to the interpretation of the script. I disagree, and think that if J.S. were here in person, he would immediately opt for the clarity and trueness of pitch and fluidity of modern orchestral instruments. Speaking of Bach, there is no work of his that is pedantic or lacking in genius. Unlike Beethoven, Mozart, and all other composers, there is no work of Bach that lacks ingenuity, or is trite. Even his most early works show a sign of genius unparalleled in the musical world. He is the Newton and Einstein of music, all put into one.  Matthäus Passion is no exception, utilizing a total of 4 choruses, including two front, one rear, and one children’s choir. This is a magnificence that Karl Orff in his massive productions could only dream of. Richter masters Bach beauteously, not flinching at the most demanding portions of the script, and also occasionally conducting from the Harpsicord, accompanying some of the solo pieces. All in all, this is a must have recording for Bachophiles.

 

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