Bach: St. Matthew Passion

It’s a rare delight to hear J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion performed with boys’ treble voices—congregations would have heard this masterpiece performed this way at its 1727 premiere at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche. There’s fragility and contained emotion in the King’s boys’ voices, coupled with a beautiful sense of line and, as we’ve come to expect from this choir, a stunning vocal blend all around. A poignant performance in more ways than one, this was Cleobury’s penultimate recording, made just months before the former King’s College, Cambridge director of music’s untimely death in 2019. Soloists are uniformly excellent, including tenor James Gilchrist’s superlative Evangelist and David Allsopp’s lyrical countertenor, bittersweet in arguably Bach’s finest aria, “Erbarme dich, mein Gott.” 

Disc 1

Disc 2

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