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Recording of the Month: April 2017

J S Bach PASSIONS

St Matthew Passion BWV 244

Soli Deo Gloria SDG 725 Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Trinity Boys’ Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner

This recording, just released, made live in Pisa Cathedral during the Anima Mundi Festival in September 2016, is one of Gardiner’s finest achievements.  This new recording is exceptional in its clarity and detail and a summation of Gardiner’s life’s experience of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Even if you own his earlier recording you will want to hear this one for the dramatic energy generated by the live performance at the end of a six-month tour. Highly recommended with full details and excerpts of every track here.

St John Passion  BWV 245

King’s College KGS 0018 the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and the Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Stephen Cleobury

Scheduled for release on 7th April, this is a live recording made during the Easter Festival 2016 at King’s College with an all-star line-up of soloists including King’s alumnus James Gilchrist as the Evangelist and Neil Davies, Cardiff Singer of the World Prize Winner, as Jesus.  The St John Passion presents the dramatic narrative with a concentrated sense of urgency, in contrast to the vast proportions of the St Matthew Passion.  Many of the arias and choruses are reflective and expressive, none more so than Ruht wohl (Rest well).  Also highly recommended with full details and excerpts of every track and a short video here.