JS Bach Matthew Passion - Dunedin Consort - Stereophile

From the stately dotted ostinato of the opening chorale and its dark-hued baroque oboes, which sets the stage for almost three hours of music, this performance of the Christian Passion story grips you by the ears. The use of eight solo voices rather than a conventional double choir emphasizes the drama of the narrative, sacrificing lushness for clarity of line-an admirable tradeoff, in my opinion. Recorded by Linn's longtime tonmeister Philip Hobbs at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, the sound is immediate without being bright, rich without being muddy, close but with a dome of ambience readily discernible around and behind the singers. I list the disc catalog numbers in the heading, but I entered the 21st century by actually downloading this recording as high-resolution, two-channel, FLAC-encoded files-a purchase triggered by my earlier downloading of the Dunedin's highly lauded performance of Handel's "Dublin" Messiah (Linn CKD 285). Here's to a hi-rez B-minor Mass from the same forces!

10 February 2010