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
List Price: $35.99
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.
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 characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail which fuels Nelson's rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew."
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.
"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
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.
“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.”—Chicago Tribune
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE: "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."
FANFARE: "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