Johann Sebastian BACH (1695-1750) (recomposed
Jirásek after an idea by Carl Orff).
Marc Clear (tenor) Evangelist; Furio Zanasi (bass) Jesus; Ulrik Cold
(bass) Pilatus; Steven Kronauer (tenor) Petrus; Rüdiger Ballhorn (tenor)
Servus; Miyuki Matsui Eichhorn (soprano) Anclla; Mathias Banholzer (bass)
Poenitens, Hauptmann; Boni Pueri Bors' Choir; Munich Oratorio Choir and Symphony
Classico CLASSCD278 [DDD] [70'47]
Bach purists will find plenty to outrage them here and should perhaps give
this disc a wide berth, but those endowed with open minds may well emerge
uplifted after hearing this thought provoking CD. Much of Orff's version
of the St. Luke Passion (itself of questionable authenticity) was lost during
World War Two, and Jan Jirásek has provided the performable version
The mix of Bachian recitative, arias and choruses with at times a distinctly
twentieth century textures is certainly disconcerting at first. A Romantic
halo appears at times around the Evangelist's voice and the appearance of
cymbals, and bells recontectualises the predominantly baroque feel. At times
the result is convincingly evocative and colourful (the bells and woodwind
in the Evangelist's Er erschien ihm aber ein Engel for example). At
other times, the outcome is ritualistic (paradoxically, almost pagan). The
high drama following the final Choral, Nun ruh', Erloser in der Gruft,
finds Bach wrenched into a contemporary film score.
The result of all this is to highlight the dramatic nature of Bach's setting.
Throughout, the soloists are exemplary. Overblown will certainly be one criticism
of many aimed at this by the Bachian elite, but there is no doubting its
fascination. Bostock succeeds in preventing his Munich forces in wallowing
in the heady Baroque/Romantic/Contemporary mix.