Erich Leinsdorf And The Rochester Philharmonic - 1950
Erich Leinsdorf - His tenure in Rochester wasn't a happy one, but it did produce a few gems along the way.

Erich Leinsdorf With Soloists And The Rochester Philharmonic Play Music Of Bach – 1950 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Erich Leinsdorf And The Rochester Philharmonic - 1950

Erich Leinsdorf – His tenure in Rochester wasn’t a happy one, but it did produce a few gems along the way.

Erich Leinsdorf, with soloists and chorus – The Rochester Philharmonic – Bach: St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 – April 1 and 8, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

In honor of Easter and recorded between April 1 and 8, 1950 for the radio broadcast series Pioneers Of Music, a complete performance in English of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion BWV 244.

With soloists: Tenor [Narrator]: Rudolf Petrak; Bass-Baritone [Jesus]: James Pease; Soprano: Ann Ayars; Contralto: Margaret Harshaw; Bass: Norman Farrow. Along with the Choirs of Rutgers University, the New Jersey College for Women, and a choir of girls from Rochester public schools all with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

The St Matthew Passion is the second of two Passion settings by Bach that have survived in their entirety, the first being the St John Passion, first performed in 1724.

Little is known with certainty about the creation process of the St Matthew Passion. The available information derives from extant early manuscripts, contemporary publications of the libretto, and circumstantial data, for instance in documents archived by the Town Council of Leipzig.

The St Matthew Passion was probably first performed on 11 April (Good Friday) 1727 in the St. Thomas Church, and again on 15 April 1729, 30 March 1736, and 23 March 1742. Bach then revised it again between 1743 and 1746.

Many composers wrote musical settings of the Passion in the late 17th century. Like other Baroque oratorio passions, Bach’s setting presents the Biblical text of Matthew 26–27 in a relatively simple way, primarily using recitative, while aria and arioso movements set newly written poetic texts which comment on the various events in the Biblical narrative and present the characters’ states of mind in a lyrical, monologue-like manner.

The St Matthew Passion is set for two choirs and two orchestras. Both include two transverse flutes (Choir 1 also includes 2 recorders for No. 19), two oboes, in certain movements instead oboe d’amore or oboe da caccia, two violins, viola, viola da gamba, and basso continuo. For practical reasons the continuo organ is often shared and played with both orchestras. In many arias a solo instrument or more create a specific mood, such as the central soprano aria No. 49, “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben”, where the absence of strings and basso continuo mark a desperate loss of security.

The St Matthew Passion was probably first performed on 11 April (Good Friday) 1727 in the St. Thomas Church, and again on 15 April 1729, 30 March 1736, and 23 March 1742. Bach then revised it again between 1743 and 1746.

Since 1975, it has usually been assumed that Bach’s St Matthew Passion was first performed on Good Friday 11 April 1727, although its first performance may have been as late as Good Friday 1729, as older sources assert. The performance took place in the St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche) in Leipzig. Bach had been Thomaskantor (i.e., Cantor, and responsible for the music in the church) since 1723. In this version the Passion was written for two choruses and orchestras. Choir I consists of a soprano in ripieno voice, a soprano solo, an alto solo, a tenor solo, SATB chorus, two traversos, two oboes, two oboes d’amore, two oboes da caccia, lute, strings (two violin sections, violas and cellos), and continuo (at least organ). Choir II consists of SATB voices, violin I, violin II, viola, viola da gamba, cello, two traversos, two oboes (d’amore) and possibly continuo.

Enjoy.

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