Bach: St. Matthew Passion

Album cover art for upc 881488220322
Label: haenssler CLASSIC
Catalog: HC22032

Ladner, Pascal; Schmid, Clemens; Kobinger, Josef; Wilten Boys' Choir; Dublyanskiy, Victor; Lehner, Simon; Rasic, Matteo Ivan; Sailer, Oliver; Academia Jacobus Stainer; Strobl, Samuel; Hoffmann, Matthias; Gerhold, Norbert; Kerber, David; Wilten Boys' Choir, soloist; Niedermair, Hanspeter; Schwaiger, Wolfgang; Stecher, Johannes

Recording St. Matthew Passion with boys’ and young men’s voices is an exceptionally intensive experience. Singing from memory and seeing Jesus’ suffering from the trusting perspective of children leads you to a different conclusion than it would with adult singers. The voices of children and adolescents sound more linear with a lower vibrato amplitude; they are rich in overtones and usually use a shorter phrase length. But children breathe very quickly, and their voices can be applied with virtuosity. Chords sound calmer and clean. The choir and soloists of the Wilten Boys’ Choir and the Academia Jacobus Stainer Orchestra recorded St. Matthew Passion in the middle of a lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, were therefore tested daily and stood at a distance from each other in the Saal Tirol of the Congress Center in Innsbruck. The choir and the second orchestra were both further away from the conductor, just as was probably the case with Bach in the former St. Thomas Church with its swallow’s nest organ on a gallery above the triumphal arch. In any case, St. Matthew Passion was performed in 1736 “mit beyden orgeln” (with both organs) in St. Thomas Church. We studied every recitative, every aria and every chorale as written in Bach’s wonderful handwriting and were amazed, especially in the secco recitatives, by some changes that became apparent for us after reading the meticulously written autograph that was later revised by Bach.

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