Sebastiani: Matthäus Passion

Floral design

Colin Balzer, Christian Immler, Ina Siedlaczek, Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble, Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs
cpo 555 204-2

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his is an important recording of an important work. Sebastiani’s telling of the passion according to St Matthew is punctuated with judiciously chosen Lutheran chorales which would have been known to the congregation in the Königsburg church where it was presumably first performed, though the score stipulates performance by a solo soprano and viol consort. Elsewhere in the work, singers are joined by a pair of violins. The success of any performance rests on the casting of the two principle voice parts – in this case, Colin Balzer’s reading of the Evangelist balances a rhetorical reading of the narrative with just enough colouring of the voice to bring it to life, while Christian Immler’s Christus is very much a real person, turning Sebastiani’s lines into real believable dialogue. The other parts are taken well and the whole is well paced and nicely recorded.

Brian Clark

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