Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir

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This stunning new live recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Matthauspassion BWV 244) was recorded in Pisa Cathedral during the Anima Mundi Festival as part of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra’s 2016 tour. Conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the brilliant cast includes James Gilchrist as the Evangelist and Stephan Loges as Jesus. The Trinity Boys Choir adds an exciting color to this recording as well. The Monteverdi Choir was founded by Sir John Eliot Gardner in 1964. The ensemble’s first performance was the Monteverdi Vespers in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. The group has become known worldwide for their stylistic conviction and their ability to perform an extensive repertoire, from Renaissance motets to Classical music of the Twentieth Century.



Musically this is a very fine performance. The choir are excellent, of course, with a solid but clear and intimate sound even in the larger choruses, no end of expressive means in the chorales, and a thrilling quickness in the crowd choruses. Gardiner asks for a lot of quiet singing from them and they execute it with a superbly controlled beauty.

The orchestra is as skilled and musical as you like in their obbligatos, and exquisitely responsive in Gardiner's subtle shapings.

The experienced Evangelist of James Gilchrist and Christus of Stephan Loges are not to be faulted, and none of the nine young aria soloists is a weak link; each one lives up to their moment in the drama.

All of these things you will find in many other Matthews, but you will rarely find the same careful relishing of the German text. What really makes this one special, however, is its emotional integrity, coming not from affected theatricality but from a pervading sense of profound sadness. This recording is one of Gardiner's finest achievements.

– Gramophone

Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 10, 2017

  • Catalog Number: SDG725

  • UPC: 843183072521

  • Label: SDG

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, Trinity Boys Choir

  • Performer: James Gilchrist, Stephan Loges


  1. Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ensemble: English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, Trinity Boys Choir

    Performer: James Gilchrist (Tenor), Stephan Loges (Baritone)

    Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner