Endless critical appraisals, from the academic to the heartfelt, including an unlikely appreciation by a London Muslim who says that the work is so “devastating” in its power that even non-Christians can find meaning in it. Matthäus-Passion Alt ernative. It is an audible symbol of human frailty, akin to Peter’s failure of courage.”. Notizen zur Matthäus-Passion Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven (2013) Bach actually uses the melody of his best-known chorale, “O sacred head now wounded” five times in this Passion, but they are harmonized so differently that the repetition is not at all tedious. These take two forms: there are eleven chorales which “step outside the action at significant spots and react to the story…They provide commentary and create a sense of a community response to the events just described by the soloists.” Then there are the four longer choruses that frame each half of the Passion, like bookends. Like the Jewish cabbalists, and like Christians down the centuries who have highlighted the significance of numbers in everything from seven-armed candelabras to the triune God and the twelve gates of the Holy City (or the twelve disciples), Bach was interested in numerology – that is, mathematical symbolism. Listen to excerpt 1 – “Come ye daughters.”, To hear both examples, listen to excerpt 8, Listen to excerpt 9 to hear the rippling motion, Not a Time to Take Sides – Except God’s Side. When the congregation weren't singing, Bach made sure the overarching mood of the story was represented in the music - and he had a remarkable number of tricks up his sleeve, using different instruments and key signatures to highlight the different characters and emotions. This is a reference to Psalm 39, which contains the line, “I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked stand before me.”. The crowd says, “Not upon this feast!” Then the evangelist sings of the anointing of Jesus in Bethany, and the crowd reacts, “To what purpose is this waste?” to which Jesus responds by singing of how the woman who anointed him will always be remembered. These events were so well attended that you had to come several hours early if you wanted a good seat. Bach's large choral composition was written to present the Passion, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, in a vespers service on Good Friday. John Eliot Gardiner’s benchmark Archiv recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, which will be reissued on vinyl on 10 April 2020, was recorded back in 1989, a masterstroke that remains a milestone in the catalogue. In the best recordings, these nuances are taken into account, avoiding the tedious delivery that so many people unfairly (but understandably) associate with chorales; in fact, their delivery will be appropriately varied, according to the context. Title Historia des Leidens und Sterbens unseres Herrn und Heiland Jesu Christi nach dem Evangelisten Matthäus St Matthew Passion Composer Schütz, Heinrich: Opus/Catalogue Number Op./Cat. (There’s a whole book devoted to this subject called Bach and the Physics of Music.) Bach: St. Matthew Passion The city, Leipzig in 1727: site of a fine university, a secondary commercial center, a satellite of Dresden. In 1707 he married a second cousin, Maria Barbara, and had seven children. It is composed in two parts, that were to be … Only a dozen or so of his works were published in his lifetime.). “As Sir David points out… Bach might well have approved of making the “fullest use of the resources available to him”…The crowd choruses are vividly characterised, the chorales sung with unaffected naturalness.” – Gramophone. Bach St Matthew Passion: Text, Translation and Musical Notes . 1: No. The St Matthew Passion performed by the Netherlands Bach Society for All of Bach. It is unclear exactly how many Passion settings Bach wrote: perhaps but not likely five, possibly three or four. We are an intentional Christian community of more than 3,000 people living in twenty-eight settlements on four continents. Recordings – hundreds of them. Why the odd title – St. Matthew Passion – when Bach, a staunch Lutheran, would never have referred to the apostle as a saint, and the “passion” is Christ’s, not Matthew’s? Bach did not act as his own librettist for the St Matthew Passion. Hildel, Winifred. And in the aria where the soprano sings about the scourging of Jesus, a harsh, rhythmic motif in the violin part represents Christ’s being lashed with a whip. Bach’s score is, after all, a sacred drama and Gardiner interprets this aspect of the work with lively and colourful conviction… Singing and playing of this calibre deserve to win many friends…’” – Gramophone. Many were written around Lutheran chorales, such as “Wake, awake” or “How brightly beams the morning star.”. This tradition of borrowing music is still going strong; though whereas 300 years ago serious musicians were borrowing popular tunes, it’s now working the other way around: popular musicians are borrowing from classical tunes. The music is seductive, even voluptuous. Note Bach’s use of a most simple, childlike tune – an old French street song that recalls “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” Listen to excerpt 1 – “Come ye daughters.”, St. Matthew Passion is an oratorio, which is a musical drama. No one but the individual concertgoer can answer that question, but in the interest of piquing the interest of those to whom Bach’s “Great Passion” is a foreign, inaccessible enigma, here are a few thoughts. . Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion was first performed on 11 April 1727 in St Thomas Church,Leipzig,Germany. It prompts repentance, urging us to turn from vice toward freedom and salvation. Geiringer, Karl. “Atonement: The St. Matthew Passion at the Armony,” The New Yorker, (Oct. 27, 2014) Sir John’s approach to the work is as celebrated as his first-class soloists, his great Monteverdi Choir and the splendid English Baroque Soloists. Versions and contemporaneous performances. Highlights to look out for are the alto aria ‘Buss Und Reu’ (‘Penance And Remorse’), one for soprano, ‘Blute Nur, Du Liebes Herz! These led directly to a complete reassessment and revival of interest in all of Bach’s music for, baffling as it seems nowadays, Johann Sebastian Bach had fallen into near obscurity since his death nearly 80 years earlier. Is it really just the music drawing people? David Gordon writes: The best example of this is the so-called “Lord’s Supper sequence.” Note the accompaniment (and the interplay of narrator and cast). Announcements for past and future performances from the smallest rural church choirs to the largest halls of New York, Moscow, Johannesburg, Berlin, Tokyo, and Sydney. But... January 12, 2021 by Charles & Leslie Moore. In a way, it’s hardly surprising. Thus, the whole work is structured as a repeated pattern of Biblical narrative, comment, and prayer. Listen to excerpts 12 and 13 - the last recitative, followed by the powerful closing chorus, “In tears of grief.”, Ambrose, Z. Philip. In the biblical text, vocal soloists portray Jesus, Pilate, other individual characters, and Matthew the Evangelist, delivering their narration and … Here, a few examples: In one number, the cello ascends a major scale, as the singer describes Christ’s ascent of the Mount of Olives. The LP comes with a two-page leaflet and original liner notes by Sir John in English and German. The whole piece takes 3+ hours to perform but this 7 and a half minute section is … We might think of them as sober, earnest hymns, but some were originally street tunes. Singing a chorale, on the other hand, presumes the participation of everyone in the choir (and in Bach’s day, the entire congregation as well), and allows each singer to voice – and thus admit – his complicit guilt in relation to Christ's death, and his longing for redemption. Writing about the place of the Passion in Bach’s life, David Gordon, a musicologist, writes: With this performance Mendelssohn revived, almost single-handedly, interest in Bach. 17, the bass accompaniment consists of 116 notes, a not-so-subtle reference to Psalm 116, which has the verse, “I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.”, In No. In St. Matthew Passion as in his other choral works, Bach devised specific “tone pictures” or “musical pictures” to help deliver his narrative. It is said to be the greatest peice of sacred classical music ever written. (“In Nomine Jesu,” which means “In the name of Jesus”) or J.J. (“Jesu Juva,” which means “Help me, Jesus”). (Despite this prodigious output, by the way, Bach was not known so much as a composer during these years, but first and foremost as a brilliant organist, organ builder and technician, and teacher. It’s not just a regional phenomenon. It is almost miraculous that the complete renaissance of Bach’s music which took place after 1829 was due to the performance of a work that had been quite forgotten yet is regarded today as one of his most complex and profound creations of Western music. I, II Only two survive today; the second of these, the St. Matthew Passion dates from 1729. Bach’s St Matthew Passion this evening and it is particularly special to be finally performing this great work given the unexpected weather that forced us to cancel this event in March 2018. Programme Notes - Musical Director (St Matthew Passion) Posted: 25th February 2019 For the concert on 9 March 2019: It is a privilege to welcome you to our performance of J.S. Typically, these are done with all performers in street clothes or neutral costumes, the orchestras on stage, the soloists singing without scores, and the words acted out in a solemn fashion, with only a minimal stage set. But what should it be? Gordon, David. Some of these are obvious because of the interplay of music and text; others are open to interpretation and have been “discovered,” so to speak, by critics over the years. Every year for Good Friday Vespers, a Passion would be performed in one of Leipzig’s two principal (Lutheran) churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. In the end, perhaps it is Bach’s insistence on reminding us of this “whole Gospel” that gives his Passion such depth. Preview bach aria erbarme dich from the st matthew passion bwv 244 arr for violin solo viola solo and string quartet optional mezzo soprano replaces viola sol is available in 6 pages and compose for intermediate difficulty. Listen to Bach: St Matthew Passion by Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Helen Watts, Nicolai Gedda, Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Peter Pears, Walter Legge & Wilfred Brown on Apple Music. John Eliot Gardiner has also written about the schematic symmetry in the larger structure of the oratorio too – that is, the way the sequence of choruses, arias, and chorales in Part I is mirrored in Part II. The Passions, Biblical texts set as large-scale musical works, were performed on Good Friday and told the story of Christ's Crucifixion, according to the Gospels. They are written for soloists (both instrumental and vocal) and a single or double chorus, and often involve dialogue, as in the first piece, where Choir I asks questions (“What?” “Come where?”), and Choir II answers them (“A spotless lamb.” “To Jesus’ bosom”). A local Lutheran preacher, Salomon Deyling, supervised the writing of the text, using the 26th and 27th chapters of St Matthew’s Gospel (in his manuscript, Bach underlined the words of the Scripture with red ink). Bach's Passion continues to … Buy download online. A familiar instance of this in recent years is Carlos Santana’s use, in his album Supernatural, of a melody from Brahms’s Symphony No. In the first instance, the text refers to Christ’s prediction of his sufferings. Among other duties, his post required him to instruct the members of the Thomanerchor (the boys’ choir of St. Thomas) in singing and in Latin, and to provide weekly music at both of these churches. No. We used to go to similar (free) concerts at St. Peter’s, a church on the Upper East Side, where the audience was invited to sing along with each chorale. Even the deepest aria – take, for instance, “Have mercy” – remains a solo, performed by one person; everyone else remains a listener. As Hans David Matthew Passion,” for starters, and you’ll come up with a staggering number of matches. Discourses on historically accurate performing standards and instrumentation. When all is said and done, the best testimony to the meaning and power of the St. Matthew Passion is the music itself, and the best way to approach it is simply to listen to it, whether by means of a recording or a live performance, and to let it work in you. To hear both examples, listen to excerpt 8. German language Scholarly articles on its structure. This moment in our country’s history demands a response. At the Bach House in Eisenach, where he was born and raised, numerous Bibles, hymnals, and multi-volume works by Martin Luther (in some cases heavily marked in the margins) attest to the fact that he had more than a passing interest in theology, and that he took his faith seriously. Gardiner, John Eliot. For a specific example relating to Bach, there’s Paul Simon’s song “American Tune,” which is almost identical to “O Sacred Head.”. We are a fellowship of families and singles, practicing radical discipleship in the spirit of the first church in Jerusalem. Jesus says that someone will betray him, and the chorus, representing the disciples, responds, “Lord, is it I?” The phrase is repeated eleven times, once for each faithful disciple. But he then tells his mother that he did go to hear Bach’s “St. These performances would … Unlike the opera, the best-known type of musical drama, the oratorio does not use costumes, makeup, or musicians who act while they sing. In an age when churches are normally dark and empty, why are crowds still flocking to hear such an overtly religious piece – an age when any song you could ever want can be had with the flick of your finger? In the early 1820s, the director of the Berlin Singakademie, Carl Zelter, got hold of a copy of Bach’s St Matthew Passion and rehearsed some of the choral movements in private. (This is because most religious music was performed in churches. They seemed to say, ‘You, too, are responsible.’”. John Eliot Gardiner’s benchmark recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion can be bought here. He died of a stroke (after an unsuccessful eye operation) in 1750, at the age of 65, and was buried in an unmarked grave. These performances would mark the high point of the church’s year. Leaving the cyber-world for the real, it’s much the same. Rather, the composer restricts himself to creating a drama whose full force comes to expression through the musical delivery. For instance, whereas the St John Passion had a mere continuo accompaniment (harpsichord or organ), its successor had an orchestra with Christ’s words accompanied by strings (an effect that has been compared to a halo round the Saviour’s head). Text"genres" Biblical%texts% Recitatives,%TurbaPchoruses% Freepoetry% Aria,%Choruses% Hymns%% Arias,%Hymnsettings% % Authors"of"free"poetry:% BartholdHeinrichBrockes% By forcing the singers to enact both the arrogance of the tormentors and the helplessness of the victims, Bach underlines Luther’s belief in the inescapability of universal guilt.”, Moving on to describe the recitative where the baritone sings Jesus’ final cry of “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” Ross writes that “a more uncanny symbol of the loneliness of death can scarcely be imagined. Jens, Inge, ed. The best known of these, often referred to as the Passion Chorale, is ‘O Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden’, usually sung in English to the words ‘O Sacred Head Sore Wounded’. Returning to the idea of a cast: there are also commentators. The St Matthew Passion is the second of two Passion settings by Bach that have survived in their entirety, the first being the St John Passion, first performed in 1724. Stream songs including "St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No.1 Chorus I/II: "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen"", "St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No.2 Evangelist, Jesus: "Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte"" and more. Bach came from a family of prominent musicians. In the second, which follows the crowd’s shouts of “Let him be crucified!” the crucifixion has become a concrete reality. What is the Bruderhof? Some of what they sing is reflective, as the piece that addresses the evil of Judas’ betrayal; other pieces consist of a soliloquy in which the singer pours out his or her heart, the best-known example being the aria, “Have mercy on me, O Lord.” In numbers like this one, Bach puts the spotlight on our own condition, and forces us to deal with the words on a personal level. Sign up for a weekly email from the Bruderhof, Follow us on Instagram for snapshots of Bruderhof life. Even so, the experience is vital. Gardiner, John Eliot. The speeches of various characters – Commentator (soprano), Evangelist (tenor), Christ (bass), Peter (bass), Judas (bass) and so forth – are represented by various solo singers. By drawing us right into the shadow of the Cross and prying open our hearts to Christ’s agony there, he invites us to share in it as fully as possible. In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. In Hans’s reply (from Munich, where he is studying medicine), he says he didn’t go; he fears it wouldn’t have meant much to him. Indeed, it is clear that his devotion to Christ was deep and personal. The story here is as follows: Caiaphas consults with leaders to kill Jesus. Speaking of faith, Bach was a staunch Lutheran. Explore our guide to Bach’s ‘St Matthew Passion’ widely regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of classical sacred music. The story for the work was taken mostly from the Gospel According to Matthew , but the actual verses that Bach set to music were provided by several contemporary poets. Required fields are marked *. In 2020 the whole world seemed to be waiting for the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. According to the critic Alex Ross, all this is a fruit of Bach’s intent, which was not merely to set an important text to music, but to bring to life a theological truth. He was born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, the same year as Handel, though the two never met, because Handel spent most of his adult life in London. In the Passion, as elsewhere, Bach uses his mastery of musical forms to create powerful contrasts of mood. Scholars now agree that an early version was first heard two years earlier, a second version in 1729, a further revised version in 1736 and a final one – the one we hear today – in 1742. Listen to excerpt 10, which depicts the whole sequence of Peter’s betrayal, and ends with him weeping. This sort of turbulent, emotionally charged musical outcry is known as a “turba” (i.e. Yet this remastered recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion--like that of his Bach concertos with Glenn Gould and others--is a moving document of musical and emotional empathy. With respect to the chorales, their poetic lyrics are perhaps just as moving as their musical power. It is said that silence is complicity. “Bach’s St. Matthew Passion” (2001) J.S. (This is because most religious music was performed in churches. There’s also a number where the woodwinds play in repetitive triplets that evoke the soloist’s words: she’s singing about how her heart is swimming in a sea of tears. Matthew Passion” on Good Friday, and that it shattered him. The best example is (again) the chorales, which often have similar (if not identical) melodies but are harmonized differently in order to evoke different emotions. Specific actors – Pilate, the High Priest, Judas, the crowd – have roles too. Your email address will not be published. We know Bach wrote an earlier setting when he was the ducal concertmeister in Weimar (1714-1717) though this has not survived. ⇒ 11 more: Ich bin's, ich sollte büßen • Erkenne mich, mein Hüter • Ich will hier bei dir stehen • Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' all Zeit • Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht't mit Lügen • Wer hat dich so geschlagen • Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen • Befiehl du deine Wege • Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe! He was only twenty, and a recent convert to Christianity. Until 1975, it was held that the first performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion was on Good Friday 1729. “The St. Matthew Passion” – notes for Minnesota Public Radio, (2001) The view of the St. Matthew Passion as a symmetrical double-chorus work has arisen largely from the experience of modern performances that use distinct soloists and two large choirs. Then there’s the dramatic point where the soloist sings Jesus’s words, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” On the word “weak,” the accompaniment crumbles. He began earning his own living at fifteen as a chorister and violinist in a court orchestra, and later became a church organist. One can only imagine what St. Augustine, who agonized over the seductive dangers of chant, would make of it. Listen to excerpt 3: the Passover story; Jesus’ prediction that one of his disciples will betray him; the evangelist’s depiction of their growing sorrow; and finally, the question, “Lord, is it I?”, The following chorale (excerpt 4) answers their question from our perspective: “Lord, it is my sin that binds thee – I am the one who ought to be suffering such tortures.”. This not only varies and enhances the texture of the music, it also emphasizes the dialogic character of the poetry. He was, by now, working as a violinist, organist, and consultant to organ builders. After all, he had his own children to look out for, and was busy turning out, during his Leipzig years, more than two full cycles of cantatas (a cycle consisting of a complete cantata for each Sunday of the year). Listen to Bach: St. Matthew Passion by Peter Schreier, Rundfunkchor Leipzig & Staatskapelle Dresden on Apple Music. There was a lot to copy: during his life Bach wrote some 250 cantatas, plus scores of sonatas, concertos, trios, oratorios, masses, motets, keyboard exercises and variations. Bach's St. Matthew Passion: A Rudimentary Psychological Analysis, Part II by Vladimir J. Konecni University of California, San Diego Arousal-raising devices: Psychophysical and collative variables Paradoxical as it may seem, it is generally considered that Bach was able to achieve great variety through his ingenious counterpoint. By picander with Ernst Haefliger singing eevagelist, Your email address will not be published works. 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