Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


alternatively Crotchet


Giovanni PAISIELLO (1740–1816)
Passio di San Giovanni
Trine Lund, Monika Mauch (sopranos); Jörg Schneider (baritone); Vocalconsort Berlin, L'Arte del Mondo/Werner Ehrhardt
rec. live, April 2006, Trinitatiskirche, Cologne, Germany. DDD
CAPRICCIO 60133 [58:08]
Experience Classicsonline

Giovanni Paisiello was one of the most admired composers of opera in the second half of the 18th century. His reputation was mainly based on his comic operas which he composed while working in Naples. Although not born in Naples, he considered himself a Neapolitan, having studied at the Conservatorio di S Onofri. Paisiello's career can be divided into three stages. In the first he concentrated on composing comic operas, mainly for Naples. The next stage started when he was invited by the Russian tsarina Catherine II to become her maestro di cappella. There he composed some operas as well, but as Catherine wasn't really interested in music and only kept her chapel as a matter of prestige, he found time to compose other kinds of music as well, in particular keyboard works for his pupils at court. He stayed in St Petersburg until 1783, when he returned to Naples. In the last stage of his career his attention shifted from comic opera to opera seria and to religious music. At this time he also had to deal with the effects of the French Revolution. Twice the king of Naples had to flee because of a French invasion. On both occasions Paisiello stayed in the city and worked for the new regime. After a while the kingdom was restored but Paisiello got away with his affiliation with the new regime as he took advantage of a general amnesty by King Ferdinando.
The Passion according to St John as recorded here is a rather simple work. The Passions written by Italian composers are in no way comparable to the Passions which were written in Germany. This was the direct result of the reforms of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which ordered settings of the Passion story to be simple, using only the text of the Gospels without any free poetic addition. So this Passion isn't much different from the Passions written in the renaissance. It is also part of a tradition in Naples, performing the St John Passion on Good Friday. The best-known example is Alessandro Scarlatti's St John Passion, written about 100 years earlier.
The vocal parts are written for sopranos and basses only. One soprano acts as 'Testo' (Evangelist), whereas the second soprano sings the words of Christ. The third main role is that of Pilate which is given to a bass. The turbae are sung by a vocal ensemble, whose members also perform the smaller roles, like that of Peter. The instrumental ensemble is very small as well: just two violins and basso continuo.
The whole text is set in the form of accompanied recitatives, although the music is fluent and often arioso-like. Only sometimes Paisiello turns towards a speech-like secco recitative, in which the singer is either unaccompanied or supported by the basso continuo only. This is one way in which Paisiello differentiates in his treatment of the recitative. Other means are variations in rhythm and speed. The orchestra sometimes gets the role of illustrating the text. A striking example is the moment when Pilate orders Jesus to be scourged. The Testo falls silent and the orchestra vividly depicts the scourging. It is mainly through melody rather than harmony that Paisiello illustrates the events. Only at rare moments does he use dissonance, for instance on 'Barabban'. An intensity of expression is achieved by the slow and steady descending melodic figure when the Testo tells of Jesus bowing his head and giving up the ghost. Remarkable is the way the Passion ends. After the Testo telling how Jesus has been buried a moment of silence follows, and then the Testo sings twice the title at the cross: "Iesus Nazarenus rex Iudaeorum" - Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
This description may suggest that this work is pretty boring. That is not the case. In fact, its concise character is its main strength. And Paisiello, who was famous for his melodious invention, does not disappoint here. He has very effectively set the text to music, and I find the result quite moving.
The impact of this work is also down to the performance, which is very good. I say this especially considering the fact that this is a live recording. I am very impressed by the artistic and technical results achieved. I noticed some differences between the text that is sung and the text printed in the booklet. In most cases these could be just errors which are probably inevitable in a live performance.
The two sopranos do an excellent job. Trine Wilsberg Lund is very impressive as Testo. Although the role of Christ is also set for a soprano, its tessitura is a little lower, creating a nice contrast between the two soprano parts. Monika Mauch gives a very good account of this part. I am a little less enthusiastic about Jörg Schneider, whose voice I find a little rough, but he sings his part well. The vocal and instrumental ensembles are both first-class too.
I would like to recommend this disc, as it shows an unknown aspect of Paisiello's composing, sheds light on a little-known tradition of Passion writing and - most importantly - because it is just fine music. This St John Passion is an interesting extension of the repertoire for Passiontide.
Johan van Veen


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.