St Matthew Passion discography

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Recordings of the St Matthew Passion are shown as a sortable table of selected notable recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion.

The selection is taken from the 253 recordings listed on bach-cantatas as of 2015, beginning with a recording from 1939 by a symphony orchestra and choir to match. Beginning in the late 1960s, historically informed performances paved the way for recordings with smaller groups, boys choirs and ensembles playing period instruments, taken to an extreme in recordings using only one voice on a vocal part.


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).

The first recording of the work was conducted by David McKinley Williams with the choir of St. Bartholomew, New York in 1930, but was not complete. Serge Koussevitzky conducted a performance on Good Friday 1937, sung in English. The table begins with the recording conducted by Willem Mengelberg in 1939. In 1970 the first HIP recording appeared, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The first OVPP recording appeared in 2003, conducted by Paul McCreesh.

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, often 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. Sometimes the soloists are different for Choir I and II.
  • 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), Madrigal
    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): Large (unspecified), Bach (orchestra dedicated to Bach's music, founded in the mid of the 20th century), Radio (symphony orchestra of a broadcaster), Opera, Symphony
    2. Chamber orchestra
    3. Orchestra on period instruments (green background)
  • Comments
Recordings of Bach's St Matthew Passion, BWV 244
Conductor / Choir / Orchestra Soloists Label Year Choir type Orch. type Comments
Mengelberg, WillemWillem Mengelberg[1]
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Philips 1939 (1939) Large Symphony
Jacques, ReginaldReginald Jacques[1]
The Bach Choir
The Jacques Orchestra
Decca 1947 (1947) Bach Large Revised by Elgar & Atkins. Sung in English, and the translation was done by Troutbeck & Johnson. Omits Nos. 11, 21, 65, 66; Abridged Nos. 10, 12
Lehmann, FritzFritz Lehmann[1]
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Vox 1949 (1949) Radio Radio
Scherchen, HermannHermann Scherchen[2]
Wiener Akademie-Kammerchor
Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera
Westminster 1953 (1953) Symphony
Vaughan Williams, RalphRalph Vaughan Williams[2][3]
Leith Hill Musical Festival Chorus
Leith Hill Musical Festival Orchestra
1958 (1958) Large
Werner, FritzFritz Werner[2]
Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra
Erato 1958 (1958) Chamber
Wöldike, MogensMogens Wöldike[2]
Schottenstift Boys Choir
Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera
Vanguard Classics 1959 (1959) Boys Opera
Richter, KarlKarl Richter[2]
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Archiv Produktion 1959 (1959) Bach Bach later re-issued (choruses & arias only) on Deutsche Grammophon
Eterna 1962 (1962) Boys Symphony collaboration of two conductors (and brothers) and their boys' choirs, re-issued in 2005 Berlin Classics
Klemperer, OttoOtto Klemperer[4]
Philharmonia Chorus
Philharmonia Orchestra
EMI 1962 (1962) Symphony Symphony
Bernstein, LeonardLeonard Bernstein[4]
Collegiate Chorale
New York Philharmonic
Columbia Masterworks Records 1962 (1962) Chorale Symphony sightly abridged, sung in English, later re-issued on Sony Masterworks
Gönnenwein, WolfgangWolfgang Gönnenwein[4]
Süddeutscher Madrigalchor
Consortium Musicum
EMI 1968 (1968) Madrigal Chamber
Abbado, ClaudioClaudio Abbado[4]
  • Coro di Voci Bianche dell'Oratorio dell'Immacolata di Bergamo
  • Coro di Milano della RAI
Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI
Dino Classics 1969 (1969) Radio Radio
Richter, KarlKarl Richter[4]
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Archiv Produktion 1969 (1969) Bach Bach recorded live at Bunka-Kaykan, Tokyo
Harnoncourt, NikolausNikolaus Harnoncourt[6]
Concentus Musicus Wien
Teldec 1970 (1970) Boys Period First HIP
Karajan, Herbert vonHerbert von Karajan[6]
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon 1972 (1972) Large Symphony
Meer, Johan van derJohan van der Meer[6]
Groningse Bachvereniging
Groningse Bachvereniging 1973 (1973) Bach Period
Wolff, Charles deCharles de Wolff[6]
Residentie Orkest
COrneMuse 1977 (1977) Bach Period
Rilling, HelmuthHelmuth Rilling[6]
Gächinger Kantorei
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Columbia Masterworks Records 1978 (1978) Chorale Chamber later re-issued on Sony Masterworks
Willcocks, DavidDavid Willcocks[6]
Thames Chamber Orchestra
Decca Records 1979 (1979) Bach Chamber Sung in English, re-issued in 2006 on Universal Classics
Richter, KarlKarl Richter[6]
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Archiv Produktion 1979 (1979) Bach Bach 5th recording Richter, recorded at Herkules-Saal; last recording of work by Richter (recorded 2 years before his death)
Herreweghe, PhilippePhilippe Herreweghe[7]
Collegium Vocale Gent
La Chapelle Royale
Harmonia Mundi 1985 (1985) Period
Schreier, PeterPeter Schreier[7]
Rundfunkchor Leigpzig
Staatskapelle Dresden
Philips 1985 (1985) Radio Symphony
Solti, GeorgGeorg Solti[7]
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Decca 1988 (1988) Symphony Symphony
Gardiner, John EliotJohn Eliot Gardiner[7]
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
Archiv 1989 (1989) Period
Leonhardt, GustavGustav Leonhardt[7]
La Petite Bande
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 1989 (1989) Period
Koopman, TonTon Koopman[8]
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Erato 1993 (1993) Period
Cleobury, StephenStephen Cleobury[8]
Brandenburg Consort
Brilliant Classics/Regis 1994 (1994) Boys Period
Brüggen, FransFrans Brüggen[8]
  • Boys’ Choir of St Bavo's Cathedral, Haarlem
  • Nederlands Kamerkoor
Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century
Philips 1996 (1996) Chamber Period
Veldhoven, Jos vanJos van Veldhoven[8]
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
Channel Classics 1997 (1997) Period
Ozawa, SeijiSeiji Ozawa[8]
SKF Matsumoto Children’s Choir & Tokyo Opera Singers
Saito Kinen Orchestra
Philips 1997 (1997) Radio Radio
Herreweghe, PhilippePhilippe Herreweghe[8]
Collegium Vocale Gent
Collegium Vocale Gent
Harmonia Mundi 1998 (1998) Period
Suzuki, MasaakiMasaaki Suzuki[8]
Bach Collegium Japan
Bach Collegium Japan
BIS 1999 (1999) Period
Hennig, HeinzHeinz Hennig[9]
Thorofon 2000 (2000) Boys Period Collaboration of two boys' choirs
Harnoncourt, NikolausNikolaus Harnoncourt[9]
Concentus Musicus Wien
Teldec 2001 (2001) Period 2001 Grammy Award for "Best Choral Performance", 2001 Gramophone magazine award for "Best Baroque Vocal Recording"
McCreesh, PaulPaul McCreesh[9]
Gabrieli Consort and Players
Archiv Produktion 2003 (2003) OVPP Period First OVPP
Guttenberg, Enoch zuEnoch zu Guttenberg[9]
Orchester der Klangverwaltung
Farao Classics 2003 (2003) Large Large
Koopman, TonTon Koopman[9]
Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Challenge Classics 2006 (2006) Period
Butt, JohnJohn Butt[9]
Dunedin Consort
Dunedin Consort
Linn 2008 (2008) OVPP+R Period Recording of 1742 version
Kuijken, SigiswaldSigiswald Kuijken[9][10]
La Petite Bande
Challenge Classics 2008 (2008) OVPP Period
Chailly, RiccardoRiccardo Chailly[9]
La Petite Bande
Decca 2009 (2009) Boys Symphony collaboration of two boys' choirs
Veldhoven, Jos vanJos van Veldhoven[11]
De Nederlandse Bachvereniging
Channel Classics 2010 (2010) OVPP+R Period
Jacobs, RenéRené Jacobs[12]
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Harmonia Mundi 2013 (2013) Chamber Period
Dijkstra, PeterPeter Dijkstra[11]
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
BR Klassik 2014 (2014) Radio Radio


  1. ^ a b c "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 1 / Complete Recordings 1900-1949". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 2 / Complete Recordings 1950-1959". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) / St Matthew Passion". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 3 / Complete Recordings 1960-1969". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244" (in German). Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 4 / Complete Recordings 1970-1979". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 5 / Complete Recordings 1980-1989". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 6 / Complete Recordings 1990-1999". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 8 / Complete Recordings 2000-2009". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 / Recordings - Part 9 / Complete Recordings 2010-2019". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 

External links[edit]