Bach: St John Passion - Minkowski (2CD)

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Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

Lothar Odinius tenor (Evangelista, No.13), Christian Immler bass (Jesus, Nos 11b, 32), Ditte Andersen soprano (Ancilla, No.9), Lenneke Ruiten soprano (No.35), Delphine Galou alto (No.30),David Hansen alto (No.7), Colin Balzer tenor (Servus, Nos 20, 24, 34), Valerio Contaldo tenor (No.13b), Felix Speer bass (Petrus, Pilatus, No.19)

Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

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The foundations of Marc Minkowski’s career lie in Baroque music, and he has enjoyed a long relationship with Warner Classics, but this Johannes-Passion (St John Passion) is his first Bach for the label. The work’s terse drama – here presented through just nine singers – is ideally suited to both his scrupulous musicianship and his keen sense of theatre. The French conductor describes Bach’s great masterpieces as “a journey you have to prepare for meticulously, over a long period of time … You come back from it like an explorer comes back from Everest or the Moon – transformed.”

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Sunday Times

“Minkowski goes for minimalism, if not hardline one-voice-to-a-part “authenticity”, sharing out the solos and choruses between eight singers. His Evangelist, Lothar Odinius, is outstanding, delivering the text with clarity and an emotional angst that burns itself onto the memory.”

The Guardian

“This passion is brutal from the start: bass notes in the opening chorus are full of threat, a contrabassoon added for extra thud. But it’s also punctuated with sudden and devastating gentleness. Try one of the silky chorales or an aria like Mein teurer Heiland to see what I mean.”