– J. S. Bach: Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244, in der Einrichtung von F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1841)
Benjamin Bruns (tenor – Evangelist and arias), Michael Nagy (bass – Jesus), Martina Janková (soprano), Ann Hallenberg (alto), Peter Mattei (bass – arias), Panajotis Iconomou (bass – Pilate), MDR Rundfunkchor, NDR Chor, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, direction: Trevor Pinnock
On April 11, 1829, the 20 year-old Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy held a performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin. It was a bold undertaking, but everyone was impressed by the mightiest musical work of all time. Yet for the performance Mendelssohn had eliminated eleven arias and half the chorales, although the musical forces, with two orchestras and two choirs, were ten times as numerous as Bach’s. On April 4, 1841, Mendelssohn presented the work in Leipzig for the first time in a charity concert for the Bach monument. For this, he produced a new version, re-integrated arias that he had originally removed, included the organ of St. Thomas’s Church and set the recitatives for two cellos and double bass. The Gewandhaus Orchestra juxtaposes this Leipzig version by Mendelssohn with Johann Sebastian Bach’s version, interpreted by Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists.