Label : Archiv
Format : Ape
Cover : No

Gardiner’s reading of the St. Matthew Passion is conceived and executed on the highest level, an example of period practice that is unlikely to be bettered any time soon. The performance as a whole vibrates with life: soloists are first-rate, and wonderfully well chosen for their respective parts, and the work of chorus and orchestra is exemplary. The recording, made in 1988 in the spacious ambience of The Maltings, Snape, near Aldeburgh, is well balanced and exceptionally vivid.

Gardiner’s account of the B minor Mass has all the virtues of a well-done period-instrument rendition – flow, clarity of texture and articulation, color – yet conveys the sweep, grandeur and weight that are an essential part of Bach’s conception, thereby combining the best of the new and the traditional. There is excellent choral work from the Monteverdi Choir, singing four or five to a part. The soloists, chosen from the ranks of the choir, have soft voices but are well blended and can always be distinguished over the chorus. The “Christe eleison” duet from Lynne Dawson and Carol Hall is particularly lovely. The recording, made in 1985, is open, clear, and spacious.

Complete tracklist :Bach – Sacred Masterpieces & Cantatas – Gardiner