Looking for advance notice of a performance of the Bach St Matthew Passion in Glasgow this Easter (there doesn't appear to be one programmed) got me looking for filmed performances of this, perhaps my favourite piece of music.
I 'grew up' on the 1958 Karl Richter version, always preferring it's significantly slower pace, and hearing it sung in German (in this way, not being a German speaker, the text is abstracted and it's religious meaning removed, leaving the listener purely with the sense of grief and mourning that's palpable in the work). I've since heard it perfomed live on numerous occasions, perhaps the most memorable being a perfomance in the round on period instruments, directed by Jonathan Miller in Tramway, Glasgow. This is the wonderful opening to the piece with Richter conducting the Munchener Bach-Chor and the Munchener Bach-Orchester in 1971.
The following aria is for me, perhaps the highlight of the entire work. The contralto soloist is Julia Hamari.