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The pleasures of Egarr’s reading lie not so much in his use of the original 1724 score (less elaborate than Bach’s better-known revisions), and more in his line-up of top-rank English soloists.

James Gilchrist is the persuasive Evangelist, Matthew Rose an expressive Jesus and Ashley Riches an effective Pilate. Christopher Purves excels in the bass arias, while Andrew Kennedy sounds characteristically vivacious in those for tenor. The radiant soprano is Elizabeth Watts. As for Sarah Connolly, her “Es ist vollbracht!” crowns the performance.

The only disappointment is a less-than-transparent chorus.

Bach

St John Passion

Richard Egarr

(Academy of Ancient Music) 2 CDs

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