An acceptable edition of Bach's great St Matthew Passion, but most certainly not the best. If you can, buy Barenreiter's Urtext editions; better laid out and well edited.
Novello's placing of the original German below the English translation is not helpful to the eye, and the English translation is not fantastic (not that it should be sung in English, in my view...).
Novello's editions are OK if you have to sing in English, although I find that this new edition is hardly an improvement over the previous version. It often seems that Novello make a minor change to force regular singers to buy a new copy!
Breitkopf is my favourite edition.
- (Windsor, United Kingdom)
It was what it said on the tin!!
- (Buntingford, United Kingdom)
Le défaut de cette édition, anglaise je crois, est que le texte anglais est en premier alors que le texte en allemand, version originale, est en dessous ce qui rend plus difficile la lecture de la partition.
- (MELUN, France)
Having used other Bach music books in the past that were solely in German - it was helpful (as a non German speaker but someone who often sings in German) to have an English choral score.
Not only does it give flexibility for performance, but it gives the singer and instant translation which aids expression.
As usual, a Novello Edition that does not fail to deliver.
- (Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom)
Très bien, c'est ce que j'attendais.
- (Marseille, France)
I was absolutely delighted with this new edition of the St. Matthew Passion. The score is easy to follow at all times, important if, like me you sing with conductors who enjoy a speedy romp through the double choruses! I found the new translation very sensitive to the original German and I was aware of the slight inflexion changes, created to smooth over some of the slightly more awkward translations of the older Novello edition. I take my hat off to Neil Jenkins, and I am going to purchase his other new editions next!
- (Hove, United Kingdom)
This is a dreadful translation which Novello have forced into common usage by hiking up the price of their older edition. It may respect the original rhythmic patterns and try and put the translated words in equivalent places, but it simply doesn't sound like Bach. For instance in the evangelist parts all these meaningless melismas come in, which is something Bach would almost never do. Whilst quite outdated, the Elgar/Atkins version is a great deal better, as it makes many compromises with original rhythm and even exact note patterns but you end up with a version of how Bach might have set an English text. If you're looking for a more modern translation, Baerenreiter , though it contains a few howlers, is significantly better. And Jenkins' rhyming of 'immortal' with 'Portal' in the last chorus sounds like it's straight out of an Abba song.