BACH St. John Passion




Nicholas Phan, Evangelist
Jesse Blumberg, Jesus
Jeffrey Strauss, Pilate
Amanda Forsythe | Terry Wey | Christian Immler

Recording from the dramatic production presented in Cleveland and New York, March 2016. Booklet includes extensive photos and URL link to video.

SKU: AV2369 (2CDs) Category:

“This admirable St John Passion has dramatic tautness tempered by musical finesse nurtured by Sorrell. Instrumental playing of elegant refinement, polished choral singing, and communicative delivery of the text…. Chorales convey textural clarity and poeticism… sculpted with deft harmonic shapeliness. Nicholas Phan’s ardent Evangelist paints with a breadth of vocal colours his descriptions of Peter’s bitter weeping and mortification. Terry Wey’s… ‘Es ist vollbracht’ has beguiling intimacy. Amanda Forsythe is technically sure and vocally charming in both of her arias. Sorrell’s keen attention to detail ensures that this recording hits the sweet spot time and again.”
–GRAMOPHONE [read the full review]

“Sorrell’s direction produces a lively account… the singing is the chief glory. Nicholas Phan is a personable Evangelist who also negotiates the jagged perils of ‘Ach, mein Sinn’ with no nonsense, while Jesse Blumberg’s Jesus is quietly authoritative. Soprano Amanda Forsythe and baritone Christian Immler acquit themselves with distinction in the arias, and the 20-plus chorus is impeccably disciplined and incisive.
– BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE [read the full review]

“Totally at one with the concept… the sense of drama is there from the outset with bristling tension. The strings seem to swirl around the narrative…. very impressive throughout. Jeannette Sorrell, the presiding genius behind the ensemble and the project… paces it beautifully.
– MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL [read full review]

Splendid… and unlike any other performance of the work. The soloists enter entirely into the spirit of the performance. Sample the scene with Pilate’s interrogation for an impression of the thorough realization of this figure by baritone Jeffrey Strauss. This masterwork is simply being looked at through a wholly new lens. A genuinely fresh Bach recording, and an excellent choice for those interested in this consistently innovative American ensemble.”
– ALLMUSIC.COM [read the full review]

“First rate, a good choice… A deeply considered account, rendered with consummate skill and artistry…”
– NEW YORK TIMES [read the full review]

“Nicholas Phan is a gritty, direct narrator on the fine set from Apollo’s Fire, with a choir of 23 and uniformly excellent aria soloists in Amanda Forsythe, Terry Wey and Christian Immler.”
– THE SUNDAY TIMES (London) [read the full review]

Reviews of the Live Production (March 2016)

A resplendent performance… The production belonged entirely to Ms. Sorrell, who devised the concept, which she called ‘a dramatic presentation…’ Jesse Blumberg sang the role [of Jesus] handsomely and acted vividly. Nicholas Phan sang the Evangelist beautifully, with unusual animation and dramatic vehemence. Jeffrey Strauss turned Pilate into a living, breathing figure for a change. The other vocal soloists — Amanda Forsythe, soprano; Terry Wey, countertenor; and Christian Immler, baritone — were outstanding. The orchestra was also excellent… The magnificent chorus sang… to breathtaking effect… allowing Ms. Sorrell some exquisite moments.”
– NEW YORK TIMES [read the full review]

Evokes deep spirituality while teeming with theatricality. Sorrell ensured that there was no lack of drama. A superlative performance.”
– MUSICAL AMERICA [read the full review]

Lively and gripping… Sorrell dispatched chorus members to the aisles during the turbulent crowd scenes, surrounding the audience and virtually making them part of the seething mob. The soloists who portrayed Jesus, Simon Peter, and Pilate had memorized their parts and physically confronted one another. So did the chorus. The dramatic success of the performance hinged on Sorrell’s skillful, often brisk pacing of the music and Nicholas Phan’s superb storytelling as the Evangelist. Apollo’s Singers were riveting… Sorrell dictated a variety of nuances that the chorus delivered with fine attention to detail and unflaggingly crisp diction. This absorbing performance was nearly flawless.
– CLASSICAL VOICE NORTH AMERICA [read the full review]

CD 1

Part 1: Prologue

1. No. 1 CHORUS
“Herr, unser Herrscher”

Part 1, Scene 1: The Arrest in the Garden

2. No. 2 Evangelist, Jesus, Chorus | Nicholas Phan, Jesse Blumberg
“Jesus ging mit seinen Jüngern” – “Jesum von Nazareth!” – Jesus sprach zu ihnen” – “Jesum von Nazareth” – “Jesus antwortete”

3. No. 3 CHORALE
“O große Lieb, o Lieb ohn’ all Maße”

4. No. 4 Evangelist, Jesus | Nicholas Phan, Jesse Blumberg
“Auf daß Wort erfüllet würde, welches er sagte”

5. No. 5 CHORALE
“Dein Will gescheh, Herr Gott, zugleich”

6. No. 6 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Die Schar aber und der Oberhauptmann”

7. No. 7 ARIA (alto) | Terry Wey
“Von den Stricken meiner Sünden”

Part 1, Scene 2: Interrogation by the High Priest, and Peter’s Denial

8. No. 8 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Simon Peter aber folgete Jesu nach”

9. No. 9 ARIA (soprano) | Amanda Forsythe
“Ich folge dir gleichfalls”

10. No. 10 Evangelist, Maid, Peter, Jesus, Servant | Nicholas Phan, Jesse Blumberg, Christian Immler, Madeline Healey, Owen McIntosh
“Derselbiger Jünger war dem Hohenpriester bekannt”

11. No. 11 CHORALE
“Wer hat dich so geschlagen”

12. No. 12 Evangelist, Peter, Servant, Chorus | Nicholas Phan, Christian Immler, Owen McIntosh
“Und Hannas sandte ihn gebunden” – “Bist du nicht seiner Jünger einer?” – “Er leugnete aber und sprach”

13. No. 13 ARIA (tenor) | Nicholas Phan
“Ach, mein Sinn”

14. No. 14 CHORALE
“Peter, der nicht denkt züruck”

CD 2

Part 2: Prologue

1. No. 15 CHORALE
“Christus, der uns selig macht”

Part 2, Scene 1: Interrogation by Pilate

2. No. 16 Evangelist, Pilate, Jesus, Chorus | Nicholas Phan, Jeffrey Strauss, Jesse Blumberg
“Da fürheten sie Jesum von Kaiphas” – “Wäre dieser nicht ein Übeltäter” – “Da sprach Pilatus” – “Wir dürfen niemand töten” – “Auf daß erfüllet würde”

3. No. 17 CHORALE
“Ach großer König, groß zu allen Zeiten”

4. No. 18 Evangelist, Pilate, Jesus | Nicholas Phan, Jeffrey Strauss, Jesse Blumberg
“Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm” – “Nicht diesen, sondern Barrabam!” – “Barrabam aber war ein Mörder”

5. No. 19 ARIA (bass) | Christian Immler
“Betrachte, meine Seel”

6. No. 20 ARIA (tenor) | Nicholas Phan
“Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärber Rücken”

Part 2, Scene 2: The Condemnation of Jesus

7. No. 21 Evangelist, Pilate, Jesus, Chorus | Nicholas Phan, Jeffrey Strauss, Jesse Blumberg
“Und die Kriegsknechte flochten eine Krone” – “Sei gegrüsset, lieber Jüdenkönig! – “Und gaben ihm Backenstreiche” – Kreuzige! – “Pilatus sprach” – “Wir haben ein Gesetz” – “Da Pilatus das Wort hörete”

8. No. 22 CHORALE
“Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn”

9. No. 23 Evangelist, Pilate, Chorus | Nicholas Phan, Jeffrey Strauss
“Die Jüden aber schrieen” – “Lässest du diesen los” – “Da Pilatus das Wort hörete” – “Weg, weg mit dem” – “Spricht Pilatus zu ihnen” – “Wir haben keinen König” – “Da überantwortete er ihn”

10. No. 24 ARIA (bass) with Chorus | Christian Immler
“Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen”

Part 2, Scene 3: The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

11. No. 25 Evangelist, Chorus | Nicholas Phan
“Allda kreuzigten sie ihn” – “Schreibe nicht: der Jüden König” – “Pilatus antwortet”

12. No. 26 CHORALE
“In meines Herzens Grunde”

13. No. 27 Evangelist, Chorus | Nicholas Phan
“Die Kriegsknechte aber” – “Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen” – “Auf daß erfüllet würde die Schrift”

14. No. 28 CHORALE
“Er nahm alles wohl in acht”

15. No. 29 Evangelist, Jesus | Nicholas Phan, Jesse Blumberg
“Und von Stund an”

16. No. 30 ARIA (alto) | Terry Wey
“Es ist vollbracht!”

17. No. 31 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Und neiget das Haupt und verschied”

18. No. 32 ARIA (bass) with chorus | Christian Immler
“Mein teurer Heiland”

Part 2, Scene 4: The Veil of the Temple

19. No. 33 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Und siehe da, der Vorhand im Tempel zerriß”

20. No. 34 ARIOSO (tenor) | Nicholas Phan
“Mein Herz, indem die ganze Welt”

21. No. 35 ARIA (soprano) | Amanda Forsythe
“Zerfließe, mein Herze”

Part 2, Scene 5: The Burial of Jesus

22. No. 36 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Die Jüden aber, dieweil es der Rüsstag war”

23. No. 37 CHORALE
“O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn”

24. No. 38 Evangelist | Nicholas Phan
“Darnach bat Pilatum Joseph von Arimathia”

25. No. 39 CHORUS
“Ruht wohl”

26. No. 40 CHORALE
“Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein”

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)