John Nelson, conductor
Werner Güra, Evangelist
Stephen Morscheck, Jesus
Lucy Crowe, soprano
Christine Rice, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Matthew Brook, bass-baritone
Bertrand Grunenwald, bass
Schola Cantorum of Oxford
Maîtrise de Paris
Orchestre de chambre de Paris
52-minute documentary video “John Nelson’s Saint Matthew Passion – The Journey”
2 Musical Challenges: Rehearsal with Christine Rice and Matthew Brook
3 A Dream Cast: Rehearsal with Werner Güra and Stephen Morscheck
4 A Revolution of the Heart: Conversation with Stephen Morscheck
5 Faith and Perfection: A conductor’s perspective
6 Not One, but Two: The St. Matthew choral forces
7 An Inside Look: Soloist rehearsals
8 A Performance Takes Shape: Rehearsal with viola da gamba
9 Authenticity: The point of the music
10 Final Remarks
“Meet Soli Deo Gloria” introductory video
Previews of selected Soli Deo Gloria DVDs
Soli Deo Gloria’s DVD of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is exceptional for its musical depth and high-definition clarity. Filmed in the breathtaking Gothic Basilica of Saint-Denis, just outside Paris, John Nelson and a cast of extraordinary musicians bring the profound Passion story to life, capturing Bach’s intensity in the sung narrative and words of Jesus, with expressive reflections by the chorus.
Two-disk set. Run time, 177 minutes, plus a 52-minute documentary video of rehearsal footage and interviews with Maestro Nelson. Subtitles in English, French, and German.
List Price: $35.99
The newest release in The Soli Deo Gloria Collection, SDG’s video series of sacred music masterworks, is a high-definition DVD of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. For this project, SDG once again joined with leading European production companies Idéale Audience and Medici.tv to film the performance in the majestic environs of the Basilica of Saint-Denis, the renowned abbey church on the outskirts of Paris dating back to the seventh century.
|“Nelson gets to the core of the work … and what characterful singing emerges … The last word goes to the fine Schola Cantorum of Oxford who deliver … true characterization, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail which fuels Nelson’s rounded and mature vision of the St. Matthew.”
—Gramophone Magazine, July 2013
|"Nelson's vision of the Passion, steeped over decades of performances, is expansive and embracing...If you are interested in a performance that emphasizes the eternal pull this work has, then Nelson's recording is the way to go."
—Opera News, September 2014
Extraordinary musicians bring the profound drama to life, capturing Bach’s brilliant intensity in the narrative sung by the Evangelist, the words of Jesus and his disciples, and the expressive reflections of the chorus. Schola Cantorum of Oxford, directed by James Burton, is the premiere choir of Oxford University, and the Maîtrise de Paris is an integral part of the music life of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Orchestre de chambre de Paris, which Maestro Nelson led for over ten years and is now Honorary Music Director, is noteworthy in the Parisian musical landscape.
“Nelson is a practiced hand at the ‘St. Matthew,’ [with] a deep and sensitive understanding of what gives this music its unique spiritual resonance and urgent dramatic power.”
"A top flight recording of Bach's monumental opus ... a DVD of exceptional merit ... This is easily a release that I will turn on without the video many times, and it is also the equal of virtually any audio-only release on the market. This is how concerts should be filmed. For Bach with purpose, understanding, and love, you need look nowhere else."
—Audiophile Audition, October 2014
The St. Matthew Passion was filmed during the final concert of the 2011 St. Denis Festival, an annual classical music event that brings in the first-class musicians from around the world for a month of exceptional concerts. As with previous SDG-sponsored productions, the concert was video broadcast worldwide, free of charge, on Medici’s state-of-the-art website, www.medici.tv.
"It's the overwhelming sincerity that compels, and Nelson's cast is strong... The star is Lucy Crowe, endlessly radiant...If plushness and incisiveness drive Nelson's vision, then Oxford's Schola Cantorum respond in kind."
—BBC Music Magazine, July 2013
"Vital and riveting ... Nelson has long experience with the St. Matthew Passion and has thought deeply about it. He brings a youthful intensity and—no play on words intended —passion to this music ... the camera take[s] us visually very close to the singers and players—as a seat in the house cannot—[and] we are treated to the magnificent Gothic vistas of St Denis."
—American Record Guide
"An excellent performance...heartfelt...an emotional religious experience because that is how Nelson views this music. In Nelson's hands, the entire piece—from start to finish—has not only a direction but a flow."
THE SOLI DEO GLORIA COLLECTION / IDÉALE AUDIENCE