BACH: ST. JOHN PASSION
with Amanda Forsythe, Terry Wey, Christian Immler, Jesse Blumberg and Jeffrey Strauss
Jeannette Sorrell, conductor
This recording of J. S. Bach’s groundbreaking masterpiece, the St. John Passion, is the result of Jeannette Sorrell’s visionary concept of a dramatic production which was presented in seven acclaimed performances in Cleveland and New York City in March 2016. Leading her Cleveland-based baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire, the Apollo’s Singers and a stellar cast of soloists including tenor Nicholas Phan performing both the Evangelist and the tenor arias, Sorrell’s vision brings immediacy and clarity to Bach’s dramatic setting of the Passion story according to the gospel of St. John.
"Nicholas Phan’s ardent Evangelist paints with a breadth of vocal colours his descriptions of Peter’s bitter weeping and mortification that the crowd wish to free the murderer Barabbas...Sorrell’s keen attention to detail ensures that in many respects this recording hits the sweet spot time and again."
"Among the other new recordings of J. S. Bach’s 'St. John,' one is first-rate, a good choice...a documentation of presentations by Jeannette Sorrell’s ensemble Apollo’s Fire last year in Cleveland and New York. Notable, especially, for Nicholas Phan’s Evangelist...it is a deeply considered account, rendered with consummate skill and artistry."
- The New York Times
"...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...★★★★"
- BBC Music Magazine
"Phan's Evangelist is powerfully, emotionally projected...undeniably thrilling and moving"
- BBC Radio 3
"The recording is vivid, and Nicholas Phan is an exceptional Evangelist."
- Classic FM
"The production values are excellent...the voice of The Evangelist (i.e. St. John, the narrator), sung by Nicholas Phan, came through with superb and heartbreaking clarity."
- The American Interest
"Nicholas Phan makes a very expressive Evangelist (listen to the huge length of time he takes to describe Peter’s “weinete bitterlich”) and he also sings the arias very convincingly, scourging effectively through ‘Ach, mein Sinn’."
- Musicweb International
"... Nicholas Phan sings both the role of the Evangelist and the difficult tenor solo arias. It's at the farthest extreme from a star turn, and for me it's the clincher of the real integrity of this reading. The acuity of Phan's narration of the story and the depth of his reflections on it in the arias bind the performance in a sense of shared mission..."
- Bay Area Reporter