alternating verses with a solo Mulroy. Then a short burst from a Buxtehude Praeludium leads straight to the opening chorus, nearly nine minutes after the disc has started. A similar sequence follows Part 1, and Part 2 is prefaced by another organ chorale. Immediately after the oratorio has ended (and let’s not pretend that the usual ending, a simple chorale to follow the glowing choral farewell that is ‘Ruht wohl’, does not sometimes sit strangely) comes Ecce quomodo moritur, a gentle funeral motet by the Renaissance composer Jacobus Handl Gallus (sung rather well by the University Choir again under James Grossmith). The reconstruction then ends with a few liturgical nuts and bolts and a final chorale for the congregation.
None of this extra material interrupts the Passion music itself – which, for the record, is a composite version representing what Bach’s uncompleted 1739 revision might have been like – and it can be programmed out if desired. But while you may not always want to sit through nine verses of chorale before getting down to business (or indeed listen to the half-time sermon, taken from a 1720 collection by Erdmann Neumeister, which is downloadable from the Linn website!), the effect of the violin swirls, pounding lower strings and intertwining oboe suspensions of that great opening chorus interrupting Buxtehude’s somewhat Gothic organ prelude certainly deserves more than one hearing. Butt makes a nice point in his booklet-note about how Bach’s Passion performances would have brought together in one project local singers of all abilities, from the soloists to the ‘motet choir’ to members of the congregation; and if his aim here has been to position this in the listener’s imagination and suggest the element of inclusive community that any Passion performance ought to have, well, it works for me.
RECORDINGs Of THE YEaR
March Gramophone Choices haYdn Symphonies nos 6-8 la petite Bande / sigiswald Kuijken Accent ACC24272 ‘From sunrise to storm, these players (seven strings, seven wind – petite indeed) are minutely responsive to the drama in these symphonic vignettes.’
FaurÉ Piano Quintets – no 1, op 89; no 2, op 115 eric le sage pf ebène quartet Alpha ALPhA602 ‘Everywhere the pacing sounds utterly natural: Le Sage and the Ebène are the most persuasive guides through sometimes daunting terrain.’
liszt� mahler Lieder anne schwanewilms sop charles spencer pf onyx onYX4103 ‘Evidence of her artistry is everywhere apparent. Her phrasing is seamless, with none of the audible words-versus-music negotiations noticeable even in fine singers.’
saint-saëns� tchaiKoVsKY Cello Works stéphane tétreault vc quebec symphony orchestra / Fabien gabel Analekta An2 9881 ‘The solo playing is astonishingly mature not merely in its technical attributes but also in its warmth, brilliance and subtlety of colour.’
Britten Solo Cello Suites philip higham vc Delphian DCD34125 ‘There is no doubting the plain virtuosity of these works and despite his appreciation of their contextual importance, Higham still manages to revel in the glorious sound they invite the cello to make.’
schuBert Lieder matthias goerne bar andreas haefliger pf harmonia Mundi hMC90 2141 ‘More than any other singer, Matthias Goerne conjures a Schubert who once allegedly said of himself, “Sometimes it seems as if I no longer belong to this world.” ’
i D E
c B R
M: J o h n p h o t o G r a p h y the Dunedin Consort at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh gramophone.co.uk szYmanoWsKi Symphonies nos 2 & 4. Concert overture, op 12 louis lortie pf BBc symphony orchestra / edward gardner Chandos ChSA5115 ‘The changing face and manner of this most fascinating and accomplished of composers is richly chronicled here.’
mussorgsKY� proKoFieV Piano Works steven osborne pf hyperion CDA67896 ‘Here is an ideal blend of fidelity to the score, with a subtle and distinctive rather than overbearing musical personality. Everything is as musicianly as it is technically immaculate.’
handel Giulio Cesare in Egitto soloists; il complesso Barocco / alan curtis naïve oP30536 ‘Sesto’s vengeance aria “Svegliatevi nel core” is ideally spellbinding, whereas its fast sections are dogmatic enough to convey determination rather than merely superficial volatility.’
GRAMOPHONE RECoRDinGS of thE YEAR 2013 11