St John Passion discography

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Recordings of the St John Passion are shown as a sortable table of selected notable recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's St John Passion, BWV 245. The selection is taken from the 241 recordings listed on bach-cantatas as of 2015.


The work was first recorded by symphonic choirs and orchestras. From the late 1960s, historically informed performances (HIP) tried to adhere more to the sounds of the composer's lifetime, who typically wrote for boys choirs and for comparatively small orchestras of Baroque instruments, often now called "period instruments". Some scholars believe that Bach used only one singer for a vocal part in the choral movements, termed "one voice per part" (OVPP). On some of these recordings, the solo singer is reinforced in choral movements with a larger orchestra by a ripieno singer (OVPP+R).

Table of selected recordings[edit]

The sortable listing is taken mostly from the selection provided by Aryeh Oron on the Bach-Cantatas website.

The information lists for one recording typically:

  • Conductor / choir / orchestra, sometimes several choirs
  • Soloists in the order Evangelist (tenor), Vox Christi (Voice of Jesus, bass), soprano, alto, tenor (if the tenor arias are performed by a different tenor than the evangelist), bass (if the bass parts are performed by a different bass than the voice of Jesus).
  • Label
  • Year of the recording
  • Choir type
    1. Large choirs (red background): Bach (choir dedicated to Bach's music, founded in the mid of the 20th century), Boys (choir of all male voices), Radio (choir of a broadcaster), Symphony (choir related to a symphony orchestra)
    2. Medium-size choirs, such as Chamber choir, Chorale (choir dedicated mostly to church music)
    3. One voice per part (green background): OVPP or OVPP+R (with ripienists reinforcing the soloists in some chorale movements)
  • Orch. type (orchestra type)
    1. Large orchestras (red background): Bach (orchestra dedicated to Bach's music, founded in the mid of the 20th century), Radio (symphony orchestra of a broadcaster), Symphony
    2. Chamber orchestra
    3. Orchestra on period instruments (green background)
Recordings of Bach's St John Passion, BWV 245
Conductor / Choir / Orchestra Soloists Label Year Choir type Orch. type
Ramin, GüntherGünther Ramin[1]
Berlin Classics 1954 (1954) Boys Symphony
Lehmann, FritzFritz Lehmann[1]
Wiener Singakademie
Wiener Symphoniker
M+A 1955 (1955) Chamber Symphony
Jochum, EugenEugen Jochum[2]
Bavarian Radio Choir
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Golden Melodram 1960 (1960) Radio Radio
Willcocks, DavidDavid Willcocks[2]
King's College Choir Cambridge
Philomusica of London
Decca Records 1960 (1960) Sung in English
Werner, FritzFritz Werner[2]
Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn
Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra
Erato 1960 (1960) Chamber
Richter, KarlKarl Richter[2]
Münchener Bach-Chor
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Archiv Produktion 1965 (1965) Bach Bach
Harnoncourt, NikolausNikolaus Harnoncourt[2]
Concentus Musicus Wien
Teldec 1965 (1965) Boys Period
Richter, KarlKarl Richter[2]
Münchener Bach-Chor
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Melodiya / Ars Nova 1968 (1968) Bach Bach
Münchinger, KarlKarl Münchinger[3]
Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Decca 1974 (1974) Boys Chamber
Meer, Johan van derJohan van der Meer[3]
Groningse Bachvereniging
Groningse Bachvereniging 1979 (1979) Bach Period
Rilling, HelmuthHelmuth Rilling[4]
Gächinger Kantorei
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Sony Classical 1984 (1984) Chorale Chamber
Kuijken, SigiswaldSigiswald Kuijken[4]
La Petite Bande
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 1987 (1987) Period
Herreweghe, PhilippePhilippe Herreweghe[4]
Collegium Vocale Gent
Orchestre de La Chapelle Royale
Harmonia Mundi 1987 (1987) Period
Beringer, Karl-FriedrichKarl-Friedrich Beringer[4]
Windsbacher Knabenchor
Münchener Kammerorchester
Sony Classical 1984 (1984) Boys Chamber
Gardiner, John EliotJohn Eliot Gardiner[4]
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
Archiv 1986 (1986) Period
Parrott, AndrewAndrew Parrott[5]
Taverner Consort and Players
EMI 1990 (1990) OVPP Period
Koopman, TonTon Koopman[5]
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Erato 1993 (1993) Period
Herreweghe, PhilippePhilippe Herreweghe[5]
Collegium Vocale Gent
Collegium Vocale Gent
Harmonia Mundi 1998 (1998) Period
Suzuki, MasaakiMasaaki Suzuki[5]
Bach Collegium Japan
Bach Collegium Japan
BIS 1998 (1998) Period
Daus, JoshardJoshard Daus[5]
Bach Ensemble of EuropaChorAkademie
Arte Nova 1999 (1999)
Rattle, SimonSimon Rattle[6]
RIAS Kammerchor
Berlin Philharmonic
Encore 2002 (2002) Chamber Symphony
Veldhoven, Jos vanJos van Veldhoven[6]
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
Channel Classics 2004 (2004) Period
Biller, Georg ChristophGeorg Christoph Biller[6]
Rondeau Production ROP 4024/25 2007 (2007) Boys Symphony
Butt, JohnJohn Butt[7]
Dunedin Consort
Linn Records 2013 (2013) OVPP+R Period
Egarr, RichardRichard Egarr[7]
Academy of Ancient Music
AAM Records 2014 (2014) OVPP Period



  • St. John Passion Commentary, musical examples, list of recordings, and other information on bach-cantatas