It is one of the tragic losses of music history that not a single note of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Mark Passion is of certain transmission.
Attempts to reconstruct it have usually not advanced beyond the halfway point, but Andreas Fischer has now carried this task through to completion. This version of the St. Mark Passion consists exclusively of music by Bach - which is perhaps why it creates an especially authentic impression in this performance with his St. Catharinen - Cantorey of Hamburg.
The text of the St. Mark Passion, like that of the St. Matthew Passion, penned by Picander, is extant in full and when compared with its two sister works displays a most highly concentrated design. There are considerably fewer arias but clearly more chorales - which offers every ambitious choral society a truly welcome task. Over the years precision research has identified some pieces of music from Bach’s cantatas that originally could have been composed for the St. Mark Passion. After all, the recycling of one’s own music for new works was a customary practice.
Andreas Fischer has now also thoroughly investigated the recitatives and found suitable music by the Leipzig master. The result is convincing: from the opening chorus to the concluding chorus a dramaturgical plot unfolds and optimally conveys this Passion’s purposeful construction.
Andreas Fischer was able to obtain the services of the renowned Bell’arte Salzburg ensemble for his version of the St. Mark Passion - which is also a great stroke of luck for the solo parts featuring the gamba. Together with an agile quintet of soloists, the St. Catharinen - Cantorey performs at its best and produces a most highly welcome addition to the repertoire with this unexpected recording premiere.