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
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.