It is clear that the conductor of this 1725 work, Ludger Remy, considers this short Passion a revelation, "philosophizing is nothing other than a preparation for death" (de Montaigne). Remy has disinterred it from Stoelzel's lifetime corpus of seven passions and 900(!) cantatas and premiered it here. This passion is based on a once-famous original (non-liturgical) text by the Hamburg poet and burger B. H. Brockes. As its title states, it is strongly, nay graphically, focused on the "Suffering and Death of Jesus." The text emphasizes bloody rites of whipping, thorning, beating, and crucifying, and bloody feelings about the blood sacrifice of Jesus: "my entrails screech on hot coals" (Peter), "rend my flesh, crush my bones…the world is fit for flames" (Judas). The point of this Pietistic text and frightful imagery may have been to so thoroughly terrify the congregation that only Jesus could truly rescue them, for all else collapses in utter betrayal and failure…By tertius3 (MI United States)
There is hidden treasure here. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749) has long lain in the shadow of Bach and Telemann, but if there is any justice this recording of his setting of one of the popular passion texts of the early 18th century will go far toward effecting long overdue recognition. Composed in 1725, it follows in the wake of a number of other versions of the poetry of Barthold Heinrich Brockes, most notably that of Handel, whose comparitively second-rate work pales into near insignificance when set beside the power and vivid immediacy of Stölzel's great drama.
After having established her reputation for all time by singing 'The Angel' in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius with Sir John Barbirolli in 1964, Dame Janet Baker became the mezzo-soprano of choice for numerous conductors, bringing to each performance her incisive musicality, clear diction and natural warmth of tone that endeared her to audiences all over the world. Her range was enormous - from Monteverdi through to 20th century composers, particularly Britten.