Discussion:
St. Matthew Passion DVD - Opinions please
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JohnGavin
2005-07-26 14:07:23 UTC
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Has anyone seen a DVD of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Neubeuern
Choral Society led by Enoch zu Guttenberg? The soloists include
Hermann Prey as Jesus and Margaret Marshall. This was filmed in 1990.
I am curious as to how this performance ranks among St. Matthew
recordings. Thanks
Simon Roberts
2005-07-26 15:04:30 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Has anyone seen a DVD of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Neubeuern
Choral Society led by Enoch zu Guttenberg? The soloists include
Hermann Prey as Jesus and Margaret Marshall. This was filmed in 1990.
I am curious as to how this performance ranks among St. Matthew
recordings. Thanks
I rather like it - this was done before Guttenberg adopted various HIP
influences (you should hear his weird Eroica!), so overall it's a fairly
conventional (though not at all dull) performance with a largeish choir and
modern orchestra, fairly lively and dramatic and avoiding the dull plodding
that afflicts so many pre-HIP performances. The soloists are a mixed lot; I
love Margaret Marshall at her best, but here she seems vocally in decline,
with several patches of bad intonation; the tone is still as beautiful as
ever, though, and she's nice to watch. As for the others, I'll never like
Baldin's voice (does anyone?), and Scharinger's no bass, but Prey sounds
younger than he looks (and what a distinctive sound it is), and I doubt
you'll find accounts of the alto arias much preferable to Jard van Ness's,
here at her magnificent best. Despite its flaws I would take this over the
HIP Cleobury performance, where just about all the soloists are in bad form.

Of course, you could always try for yourself: netflix has both this (I got
it from them, only to realize I had already bought it months earlier...) and
Guttenberg's later B Minor Mass, which you should definitely try too, an
exuberant performance, exuberantly conducted (with one arm in his sling;
where else will you see *that*?) in an exuberantly decorated baroque church.

Simon
JohnGavin
2005-07-26 16:19:09 UTC
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Thank you Simon - a very informative and helpful review!
Simon Roberts
2005-07-26 19:15:13 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
Thank you Simon - a very informative and helpful review!
I might add that if you get to see it and like the results, there are two
Guttenberg CD recordings, one that's a bit older than this (I think) on
Eurodisc (also with Marshall and Prey, but, sadly, with Burmeister as the
alto), another that's much more recent, on Farao, which shows rather more
HIP influence. I've only just acquired the Eurodisc recording (it's now
part of a cheap BMG box of Big Bach Choral Works) and have only dipped
briefly into it; seems rather more conservative than its two successors.

Simon
Josep Vilanova
2005-07-26 22:12:39 UTC
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I just seen the first part of the St. Matthew Passion on that DVD. I quite
agree with Simon and his review. I really like the Jesus of Hermann Prey. He
was a still a great presence at that time, in good voice although looking
quite worn out (not a bad thing in that role). I don't have any problems
with the Evangelist, who sounded effective enough, in a prim, non-exagerated
way. Choirs are large and maybe not terribly distinguished, but certainly
good enough to give a decent performance. There is not much to recommend
visually: the camera tends to repeat the same movements and you get a bit
tired to see the same old, spectacled singing ladies in the choir, the same
mustached singing gentlemen and the same shots of the conductor, who has an
expressive face but a non terribly expressive stick technique. A big minus,
at least for me: there are not subtitles. For the rest, it's a good
performance and, so far, I am enjoying it.

Josep
Post by Simon Roberts
Post by JohnGavin
Thank you Simon - a very informative and helpful review!
I might add that if you get to see it and like the results, there are two
Guttenberg CD recordings, one that's a bit older than this (I think) on
Eurodisc (also with Marshall and Prey, but, sadly, with Burmeister as the
alto), another that's much more recent, on Farao, which shows rather more
HIP influence. I've only just acquired the Eurodisc recording (it's now
part of a cheap BMG box of Big Bach Choral Works) and have only dipped
briefly into it; seems rather more conservative than its two successors.
Simon
JohnGavin
2005-07-26 23:45:24 UTC
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Post by Josep Vilanova
A big minus,
at least for me: there are not subtitles. For the rest, it's a good
performance and, so far, I am enjoying it.
Josep
There is an option for English subtitles on my copy of the DVD (although engaging it was a bit tricky).
Josep Vilanova
2005-07-27 07:14:09 UTC
Permalink
On 27/7/05 12:45 am, in article
Post by Josep Vilanova
A big minus,
at least for me: there are not subtitles. For the rest, it's a good
performance and, so far, I am enjoying it.
Josep
There is an option for English subtitles on my copy of the DVD (although
engaging it was a bit tricky).
Oh, thanks. I was watching it on my computer (I have it linked to my music
system) and couldn't manage to see any subtitles. I'll try with the DVD
player.



j

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