Überwältigende Resonanz zur Markuspassion von Nikolaus Matthes

Overwhelming response to Nikolaus Matthes’ St. Mark Passion

The completely newly composed St. Mark Passion has received a lot of positive feedback and attention since its release on CD and online in March 2024. The number of reviews in newspapers, magazines and online media was overwhelming. The St. Mark Passion has been broadcast and discussed on numerous radio stations.

We have collected a few of these differentiated, critical and laudatory reviews here. Even more sources can be found at www.markuspassion.org .

"The most intriguing new Passion recording this year {...}, so baroque – but it was actually created in the last couple of years {...}. I found this surprisingly effective, especially in a performance as committed as this. {...} A brand new St. Mark Passion that often feels as old as Bach, but simultaneously fresh and vital."

Andrew McGregor, March 30, 2024

"With respectful reference to Bach's language {...} a deeply serious, unpretentious undertaking {...}, always committed to the spirit and tradition of baroque passion music."

Werner M. Grimmel, 7/8 April 2024

"A baroque work of today {...} that sounds as if Nikolaus Matthes had studied with Bach himself."

Franziska von Busse, Good Friday, March 29, 2024

"It's by Bach – Matthes has composed a St. Mark Passion as if it had come from the master himself; {...} cheeky, well done, familiar sounding and worth listening to."

Reinhard J. Brembeck, 28/29 March 2024

"The St. John and St. Matthew Passions by the Thomaskantor are world famous. Now a St. Mark Passion in the name of Bach is surprising the music-loving public. What is behind this? No, it is not artificial intelligence!"

Rüdiger Heinze, 5 June 2024

"Clearly, Matthes has assimilated so much of what makes Bach so special and brilliant. He has obviously studied and been moved by his music and must have thought many times of how, if Bach had composed this Passion, he would have brought his genius to the work. Bach was the inspiration, no doubt about it, but he has dared to go much further than others in approaching such an ambitious enterprise and he's brought it off splendidly. It's his work, not Bach's, and the more I hear of it, the more I delight in what he has achieved and been moved by it."

Joel Flegler, Publisher of Fanfare Magazine (USA), April 22, 2024

"The music is a joy to listen to as a purely auditory experience, with a perfect sound picture and impeccable reproduction of instrumental timbres. {...} This is the most remarkable Baroque music of our time. {...} One takeaway is the thought of what Matthes would be like conducting the St. Matthew and St. John Bach originals?"

Colin Clarke, May 1, 2024

"{...} Matthes does not by any means attempt to “reconstruct” the Leipzig master, but rather is clear that this is his own project, his own work. {...} In short, this music serves Picander's text excellently, and one would hope this work might continue to be performed as a fine piece in its own right. It does not intend to be Bach, nor does it aspire to replace the now-lost St. Mark Passion that composer wrote, nor does it need to be seen as a sort of recomposition of Baroque music. Rather, it functions as a fine piece where Matthes has absorbed the idiom and reformatted it to serve the mood, substance, and feeling of the text. View it on its own merits, and you will find it to be an excellent and sensitive setting with an appropriate flavor of the time the text was written and yet absorbing in a fully modern venue. "

Bertil van Boer, 26 May 2024

"{...} without a doubt Matthes has accomplished something marvelous. It has more than a hint of Bach, but is it Bach? The jury must be out on that, but then is that not the idea? The production is excellent. The book, the notes, the texts, and other details all deserve much praise."

David Cutler, May 26, 2024

"{...} Matthes proves himself as able a conductor as he is a composer. {...} In sum, both the work itself and this performance are a complete triumph, and do full and worthy honor to Bach. I cannot think of higher praise than that. {...} Urgently, emphatically recommended."

James A. Altena, May 26, 2024

"{...} This is a gigantic project, carried out with scrupulous care. {...} Jörg-Andreas Bötticher writes: “Occasionally a turn of phrase reminiscent of Bach seems to shimmer through.” No, it doesn't. Bach is the foreground, the palimpsest if you like. Matthes is the background, and he “shimmers through” constantly."

Michelle Dulak Thomson, May 26, 2024

"{...} The Matthes St. Mark Passion triumphs as “a contemporary work written in the baroque style.” It also is a gripping musical and dramatic experience, one that proceeds with arresting momentum. All credit is due to the superb team of Baroque vocalists and instrumentalists Matthes assembled and conducted in the performances and recording of his St. Mark Passion. {...} The recording is first-rate, as is the packaging. {...} This is a quite remarkable and endlessly fascinating achievement."

Ken Meltzer, May 26, 2024

"The result sounds astonishing. It completely internalizes Bach's musical language, but with a very unique touch, often driven to extreme drama by harmonic intensification: a baroque work in a contemporary style."

Stephan Schwarz-Peters, March 23, 2024

"{...} in the 'fast lane' past all previous attempts at reconstruction by science {...}, an oratorio of which one can say: 'et re-incarnatus est...'"

Dr. Eckhardt van den Hoogen, February 2024

"The result is extremely interesting: much of it sounds familiar, but different; in some places the composer has taken the liberty of exceeding the boundaries of Bach's cosmos harmonically, melodically or in the instrumentation."

Klemens Hippel, 04/2024

"{...} a highly interesting undertaking that gives new life to Picander's libretto in the spirit of Johann Sebastian Bach."

Gerhard Eckels, March 30, 2024

"Mathes has succeeded in letting his own style shine through in the choirs, chorales, arias and recitatives of the 50-part work, without simply copying the master's musical language. An extraordinary listening experiment."

March 24, 2024

"The result is as unusual as it is appealing, even thrilling, from the very first note. {...} Of course, one could argue about questions of anachronism, historically glorified kitsch, fiction and truth. Or one could take this passion for what it is: a successful attempt that is emotionally gripping and provides almost three hours of wonderful music. {...} The music and the recording have the makings of a cult."

Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger, 10 March 2024

"When I heard this first part for the first time, I was baffled – because I know it's not Bach, but it has the touch of Bach, a sort of DNA."

Hans Meerman, March 11, 2024

"As a listener, you are not a silent observer, but become part of the events, which constantly vacillate between inner turmoil, painful suffering, hope, confidence and fear. {...} The passionately playing ensemble, which knows all the strings of baroque music, contributes to this. {...} Singers and instrumentalists do not just play the notes, they reflect, comment, shape text and music, give structure to the narrative, and fuel arias, dialogues and choral movements with suggestive power."

Guy Engels, March 9, 2024

"This St. Mark Passion, a monumental work {...}, is not a reconstruction, but in a way the work of a Baroque composer living in the present day. {...} In comparison to Bach (insofar as this makes sense for a work that evokes the spirit of Bach but does not want to copy him), there is also a much stronger interest in the theatrical, an approach that is almost operatic in places, sometimes quite illustrative. {...} The production itself is impressive in several respects. Firstly, Matthes can rely on an extremely competent and committed ensemble of instrumental and vocal soloists who know how to stage his score in an exemplary manner. Secondly, the album itself - designed as a slipcase in DVD format - comes with a proper accompanying book (almost 180 pages!), which is designed with enormous care and love, provides detailed information about the work, its creation, composer, lyricist, performers and much more, and also provides both versions of the libretto."

Holger Sambale, 17 March 2024

"The presentation and packaging are spotless. The three CDs sit in their own book-style cardboard jacket, and the text and production notes are contained in a high-quality 175 page hardcover book, which includes a slew of apropos images and photographs. All of which is encased in a large hard-cardboard sleeve, all of it presented in a vibrant color scheme. And best of all, the audio engineering is superb ... close but with the acoustic feel of a large cathedral. {...} Seriously, if the age of the composer was unbeknownst to me, I would swear I'm listening to an oratorio written by a composer born in 1681 rather than 1981. Indulge your ears this Lenten season with this consummate modern day achievement."

Jean-Yves Duperron, March 2024

"{...}Two things are certain in this respect: that this is great (Baroque) music and that the performance is of a very high standard in every respect. {...} A special compliment not only for the great recording, but also for the exquisite book, which, in addition to the many explanations and the spoken and sung texts, also contains the immediately appealing pictures of the musicians involved in this major project, all in a slipcase."

Aart van der Waal, March 2024

"Matthes' ambitious opus is characterized by respect, great personal devotion and the high enthusiasm of the spiritus rector."

Roland H. Dippel, May 1, 2024

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