Willem Mengelberg Reviews


St.Matthew-Passion - Conductor: Willem Mengelberg

Accompaniment/Orchestra: Amsterdam Toonkunst Choir, Zanglust Boy's Choir, Concertgebouw Orchestra
Soloists: Karl Erb - Evangelist (tenor)
Willem Ravelli - Jesus (bass)
Jo Vincent - (soprano)
Ilona Durigo - (alto)
Louis van Tulder (tenor)
Herman Schey (bass)

Willem Mengelberg

Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244
PHILIPS 462 092-2
Year Released/Recorded: 1939
Price: 69,00 Dutch guilders/ 31,4 Euro

Different from most of the Mengelberg recordings, this recording was not preserved on 78 rpm discs but on film-sound. It is one of the best-sounding Mengelberg recordings I've heard so far and is awarded with an 'Edison' for it. If you like only "authentic" performances stay away from this one....no, give it a try..... If you like a Bach above history, who is telling us Christ's story in the most humanly compelling way possible, a performance whose sublimity is not close to anything else in my experience, buy it.*) Comparing this release to several other modern releases, I prefer this recording far most. For the first time I even listened to the recitatives with appraisement and admiration. These recitatives let's hear people of 'flesh and blood'. Among the soloists, the Evangelist, Karl Erb, was since his youth impaired and his highly-regarded specialty was to sing in the Passions. Nobody sang after the words "Eli,Eli" by Willem Ravelli (Christ) the explanation 'Das ist: "Mein Gott! Warum hast du mich verlassen?" (My Lord! Why have you leaved me) with such pain and compassion. The other soloists - most of them Dutch, except Ilona Durigo ( Hungarian, but worked often together with Mengelberg ) and the German/ Jewish bass Herman Schey, who emigrated to the Netherlands in 1934 - are of equal high level. Mengelberg's conducting is a feast in the history of recorded sound. J.L.

"Eli, Eli, lama, lama, asabthani"

*) there is also a two cd-set, without textbook for F19,95 / 9,0 Euro


Audiophile Classics, APL 101.541 en APL 101.542, for a review of his set at ClassicalCdReview or other Mengelberg reviews look at: ClassicalCdReview


RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 (rec. Oct. 31, 1940). TRAPP: Piano Concerto, Op. 26 (rec. Oct. 24, 1935).

Walter Gieseking, pianist/Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Willem Mengelberg


PIJPER: Cello Concerto (Marix Loevensohn, rec. Nov. 22, 1936). WILLEM MENGELBERG: Preludium on the Dutch National Anthem (New York Phil. rec. April 14, 1924). VALERIUS-WAGENAAR: Wir treten zum Beten (rec. Nov. 30, 1938). DOPPER: Ciaconna gotica (rec. April 9, 1940). RÖNTGEN: Two Old Dutch Dances (rec. Nov. 11/13, 1940). ANDRIESSEN: Magna res est amor. RUDOLF MENGELBERG: Salve Regina, Op. 20 (Jo Vincent, sop. rec. April 9, 1940). WAGENAAR: Cyrano de Bergerac Overture, Op. 23 (rec. April 16, 1942). MARNIX VAN ST. ALDEGONDE: Wilhelmus van Nassauen (rec. Nov. 30, 1938).

Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Willem Mengelberg


Audiophile Classics, APL 101.546 en APL 101.550, for a review of this set at the above mentioned site: ClassicalCdReview

PUCCINI: Un bel di vedremo from Madama Butterfly (Grace Moore/June 23, 1936). SCHUBERT: excerpts from Rosamunde, Claudine von Villabella and Didone Abbandonata (Betty van den Bosch/Dec. 19, 1940). MOZART: Bella mia fiamma, KV 528. Exultate Jubilate, K. 165 (Ria Ginster/March 5, 1942). BACH: Excerpts from St. Matthew Passion (Jo Vincent/Hermann Schey/Ilona Durigo); Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Willem Mengelberg, cond.


RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2. KODÁLY: Peacock Variations. DEBUSSY: Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra (Walter Gieseking, pianist)

Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Willem Mengelberg, cond.


Mengelberg, first page