Masaaki Suzuki’s second recording of the St Matthew Passion , coming two decades after his first, reveals the further deepening of an already profound empathy with the works of Bach.
What impresses from the opening chorus is a sense of spaciousness that gives each strand of the music plenty of room to unfold. At the same time Suzuki has the wonderful ability to balance the vivid, outward drama of the narrative with an inward spirituality that goes straight to the heart. These aspects combine to make for a powerful listening experience, exemplified in the aria and chorus So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen towards the end of Part One.
Suzuki is supported by a distinguished group of soloists. Evangelist, Benjamin Bruns is a born storyteller, bringing an almost breathless, rapid-fire delivery to the scene of Jesus’ arrest, yet heartache to the reporting of his death. Similarly, Christian Immler brings a wide emotional range to his portrayal of Jesus, contributing much to the prevailing mood in his relatively short utterances, as well as giving an admirably controlled Komm, süsses Kreuz.
Amongst the other soloists...