Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Image Entertainment presents
St. Matthew Passion (1990)

"My father, if possible, allow this cup to pass from me. But not as I will, rather as thou wilt."
- Jesus (Hermann Prey)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: December 04, 2002

Stars: Claes Hakon Ahnsjo, Hermann Prey, Margaret Marshall, Anton Scharinger, Jard van Nes, Aldo Baldin
Other Stars: Bach Collegium Muenchen, Enoch zu Guttenberg, conductor
Director: Peter Schulze-Rohr

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 03h:04m:15s
Release Date: November 19, 2002
UPC: 014381929027
Genre: classical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A+A-A- D

DVD Review

Although Bach frequently wrote for soloists or small chamber ensembles, he could, when appropriate, break out all of the stops. That is certainly the case with one of his surviving passion oratoria, the St. Matthew Passion. This piece requires eight solo voices, a double chorus and a double orchestra, making it one of the largest ensemble pieces of its period.

As the title implies, the piece is based on the passion story as contained in the Gospel according to Matthew. The passion covers roughly chapters 26 and 27, speaking of hope for the resurrection but stopping short. The text proper is chanted in recitative by The Evangelist (tenor Claes Hakon Ahnsjo) with the words of Jesus being sung by noted baritone Hermann Prey. Interspersed among these bits are arias and choruses that comment on the story and put it into a vernacular perspective.

The largeness of the ensemble notwithstanding, many of the most affecting segments are the most intimate, such as the alto aria 'Buss und Reu,' with its lovely flute duet. Similarly, another aria set to an oboe duet makes excellent use of the plaintive quality of that double-reed instrument. One of the oboists is quite rigid, and the other almost comically flamboyant in his movement during this piece, lending some visual entertainment to the proceedings. Also notable is an ominous yet quiet ascending figure underlying Peter's denial, a tangible portent of doom.

Equally effective is the bass aria 'Komm suesses Kreuz,' with its accompaniment by continuo and the archaic viola da gamba. The violin solo accompanying the alto on 'Embarme dich' is similarly utterly gorgeous and heart-rending. However, the violin soloist on the bass aria 'Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder' seems to be playing with some other ensemble; his playing is just enough off-kilter to be extremely odd sounding.

But that's about the only shortcoming of this performance. The two choruses accurately make their way through the elaborate double-fugues that Bach challenges them with, and the orchestra is capable of a big, rich and precise sound when Bach calls for it. The vocal soloists all acquit themselves well without being flashy about their performances. The sound is both big and intimate, as appropriate, and profoundly moving, regardless of one's theological leanings. The visuals are a bit lacking, with cuts from the orchestra to a wooden panel of Jesus being beaten, apparently one of a set of stations of the cross. A bit more visual variety would have been welcome.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame picture, shot at the Klosterkirche Alpirsbach, looks terrific. You'd never guess this was in front of a live audience, because they're absolutely silent and the lighting is calibrated for filming, not for the benefit of the live audience. The orchestra, soloists and chorus all show up beautifully, and the transfer has a tremendous amount of detail. Texture is so clear that one can discern when the lapels of tuxedos are made of a different material, which is seldom possible in a live performance. Color is excellent as well; soprano Margaret Marshall's spangled blue dress is jaw-dropping in its explosion of color on the screen. There is on occasion moderate aliasing visible on the violin bows, probably due to the compression limitations of a three-plus-hour program on a single disc. But this looks terrific aside from these slight limitations.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Germanyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Surround tracks are presented. However, there's not a great deal of difference between the two, beyond a slightly broader soundstage to the 5.1 track. Oddly, the vocals of the soloists come from all speakers, leading to the sensation of being right amongst them in the orchestra. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but fair warning for those who dislike this effect. The only directionality that I noticed was that the organ seems to come primarily from the surrounds. It's quite unobtrusive, and often needs to be listened for specifically in order to be conscious that the organ is present at all, a delicate blending that neither gives it too prominent a place nor disregards it completely. Hiss is nominal and seems to be entirely attributable to the ambient sound of the church where the piece is being performed. Again, happily, the audience behaves itself and neither coughs nor rattles paper nor applauds noisily.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 98 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 96 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:30m:06s

Extras Review: As usual for classical music DVDs, there are no extras. The chaptering is extremely generous with more stops (98) than I've ever seen on a single disc. Every conceivable break in the score is chaptered for easy access, and there is also a paper insert listing the stops. Subtitles are removable. This is all very welcome and commendable but there are still no significant extras. A couple of screens giving the history of the piece or a short bio of J.S. Bach would make this much easier to give an unqualified recommendation. But the wealth of chapter stops raises it above the usual grade for such an extra-free disc.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

One of J.S. Bach's most towering works, in an near-flawless performance. The transfer is excellent, though the 5.1 sound places one in the middle of the orchestra. Recommended for any classical music library.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store