Schutz: St Matthew Passion

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: St Matthew Passion
PERFORMER: Peter Pears, John Shirley-Quirk, Derek McCulloch, Philip Langridge, David Thomas, Felicity Palmer, Jessica Cash, Benjamin Luxon, Meriel Dickinson; Heinrich Schütz Choir/Roger Norrington
CATALOGUE NO: 436 221-2 ADD (1972)
Originally intended for Holy Week at the Dresden Chapel Royal when instruments were excluded from worship, Schütz’s three unaccompanied Passion settings are the most austere yet spiritually rewarding works by this ‘father of German music’. In his later years Peter Pears made the Evangelist role in the St Matthew Passion very much his own, captured here with John Shirley-Quirk, Philip Langridge and Felicity Palmer. The other available recording, by the Württemberg Chamber Choir, dates from 1989 and sounds clearer, more authentic. But Norrington’s version has the edge in period interest plus compelling dramatic power. Nicholas Williams