Even among the illustrious accomplishments of Ian Bostridge, his interpretation of the Evangelist in the recording of J.S. Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" (conducted by Philippe Herreweghe) stands out, like an incomparable jewel. In an all-star cast, which includes Andreas Scholl (who possesses a voice of such unearthly beauty as to leave one quite speechless), Bostridge stands out, stands apart as someone who is being affected personally by the unfolding Passion of Christ. The intensity of his personal involvement is so overwhelming at times that one begins to forget that this is a recording, begins to forget even to admire all the textual shadings he does and just finds oneself completely immersed in the agony of Christ's death, as though two thousand years had not elapsed since that time. The immediacy of it hits, like a whip across the heart, and leaves a wound that does not heal even after the piece is over. Only the most profound spiritual intuiting on the part of the performer can bring about such an interpretation, which reaches beyond the inaccuracies and errors connected with Christ's death and strikes at the heart of the matter.
It often happens - though only in the greatest works of art and performances - that an artist's spiritual intuition over-reaches the limitations or distortions connected with the subject he is depicting. This was certainly the case with J.S. Bach's music every time he set the Passion of Christ. The intuitive perception of his spirit reached far beyond the errors of church dogma into sublime realms of pure Truth. And this is also the case with Ian Bostridge's interpretation of the role of the Evangelist in "St. Matthew Passion": the spirit yearns for the Truth about Christ's death and finds a homogeneously vibrating "chord" in the tragedy of Bach's music.
All of Ian Bostridge's major accomplishments are characterized by his yearning, seeking spirit. The ideal of ennoblement, profundity, solemnity is what distinguishes his artistic persona and sets him apart from all other performers: making an impact on the world through sublimity and reawakening the longing for the spiritual ideal in the hearts of his listeners. It is this that insures the living connection with the Light and foreshadows the coming-into-being of an ideal man, who quite naturally lives and works in the Will of God.