Friday, March 25, 2016

Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Haitink in the hall St Matthew passion 1939

Sunday April 2nd, 1939. In the Concertgebouw hall, just behind the choir sits a 10 year old boy named Bernard Haitink and he looks conductor Willem Mengelberg in the face. The Concertgebouworchestra plays Bach’s St Matthew passion and Philips engineers test out a new sort of taperecorder, called the “Miller recorder”. In the same row as Bernard Haitink sits a lady who bursts in tears during the Erbarme Dich aria and Haitink still recalls how from that moment on he realized what music could evoke in people. Every time I hear this performance, saved on Miller tape, I see the 10 year old Haitink in the the hall, a strange sensation knowing that he witnessed that performance…

For the American people, sorry, your country has strict (ok, idiotic, sometimes) copyright laws and I guess the excellent Naxos Historical transfer by Mark Obert-Thorn will not be available in the USA, but… 
The Dutch Mengelberg Society has a marvelous website where virtually all known Mengelberg recordings can be heard and since the server is based in the Netherlands, it should be audible all over the world. Here is not only the complete 1939 St Matthew Passion, but also fragments form the 1936 performance, showing that the 1939 was really a good year… 

Hope you will enjoy this performance! 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
-St Matthew Passion 
Jo Vincent, soprano
Ilona Durigo, contralto
Karl Erb, tenor, 
Louis van Tulder, tenor
Willem Ravelli, bass
Herman Schey, bass
Amsterdams Toonkunstkoor, Jongens Koor Zanglust
Louis Zimmermann, solo-violin
Millem Mengelberg, conductor

Live April 2, 1939


-Overture (Suite) No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
Concertgebouw Orchestra
June 2nd, 1931
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Jan 16th, 1929
-Air from Suite No.3 in D major BWV 1068 (arr. Telico)
Concertgebouw Orchestra
December 1st, 1938
-Air from Suite No.3 in D major BWV 1068 (arr. Mahler)
-Concerto in D minor for Two Violins BWV 1040
Louis Zimmermann and Ferdinand Helman (violins)
Mai 4th, 1935

(HTTP link)

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