st matthew passion musical analysis

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. We are a fellowship of families and singles, practicing radical discipleship in the spirit of the first church in Jerusalem. In the 1740s, he began to go blind. 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. From there to the end [of the performance], many of us were in a trance, out of which the chorus jolted us with one last unexpected gesture: in the silence after the final chord, the singers turned…and stared outward, with cold, expectant glances. A smaller piece than the 1727 St. Matthew, Bach’s St. John Passion was first performed in 1724. 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. 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. (“Soli Deo Gloria,” which means “to God alone be glory”), I.N.J. In 1723, the family moved to Leipzig, where Bach spent the rest of his life, mostly at St. Thomas, where he was cantor, though also at the city’s other big church, St. Nicholas. Seen from a distance, the two ensembles, each visually dominated by a large number of singers, do indeed look equal. Has anything else lasted, culturally speaking, from 1727 to the present? Highlights to look out for are the alto aria ‘Buss Und Reu’ (‘Penance And Remorse’), one for soprano, ‘Blute Nur, Du Liebes Herz! 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. SWV 479 I-Catalogue Number I-Cat. One can only imagine what St. Augustine, who agonized over the seductive dangers of chant, would make of it. Returning to the idea of a cast: there are also commentators. Gordon, David. 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.”. This not only varies and enhances the texture of the music, it also emphasizes the dialogic character of the poetry. Sir David Willcocks’ 1978 recording for Decca is the only version currently available in English. In the same sequence, a flurry of chords dissipating in different directions illustrates Christ’s words about the scattering of his flock. Little is known with certainty about the creation process of the St Matthew Passion. Leaving the cyber-world for the real, it’s much the same. These would have been well-known to the congregation of St Thomas’s, the oldest dating back to the early 16th century. Still another is solid and confident, representing strength and faith. At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl 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. 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. Google “St. Obviously, our anguish is vicarious, limited to the realm of Bach’s (and our) imagination. We're an intentional Christian community with locations worldwide. Listen to excerpt 2 – and note the evangelist, the turbae, and the strings accompanying the voice of Jesus. Some of his music can even be played, simultaneously, by two musicians on opposite sides of a table, one reading the music upside down, to form a second part. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his St. Matthew Passion for a single purpose — to present the Passion story in music at Good Friday vesper services. Conversations (1996-1998) He died of a stroke (after an unsuccessful eye operation) in 1750, at the age of 65, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Warner Classics: 7777630585. One setting of “O sacred head” is unrelievedly somber, as when Jesus has just been crucified. It is said to be the greatest peice of sacred classical music ever written. The whole piece takes 3+ hours to perform but this 7 and a half minute section is … “Bach’s St. Matthew Passion” (2001) He began earning his own living at fifteen as a chorister and violinist in a court orchestra, and later became a church organist. Peter’s weeping, after his betrayal of Christ, is also vividly depicted by the vocal line Bach gives the soloist at that point in the story. Without guilt, forgiveness is meaningless, and without death – without Good Friday – there could not be possibly be such a thing as resurrection and the joy of Easter. German language John Eliot Gardiner’s benchmark recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion can be bought here. We gladly renounce private property and share everything in common. A fine example of Bach’s use of repetition to make connections is noted by the scholar Christoph Wolff, who suggests that the use of the same melody for “O blessed Jesus,” the first chorale in the oratorio, and one of the last “O wondrous love” is intentional. Listen to excerpt 9 to hear the rippling motion. 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”). “The St. Matthew Passion” – notes for Minnesota Public Radio, (2001) (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. St Matthew Passion - Bach. 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. We try to love our neighbor and share everything, so that peace and justice become a reality. Notizen zur Matthäus-Passion Hildel, Winifred. Indeed, it is clear that his devotion to Christ was deep and personal. Every note is performed in … Written in 1727, the St. Matthew Passion represents a large-scale intersection of composition and Lutheran theology. As he noted, in a scribbled comment in the margin of his Bible, “In music of true worship, God is always present with his grace.” Many of his scores are inscribed with an abbreviated heading (or footer) expressing devotion, for example: S.D.G. 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. To me, the most vivid tonal depiction comes in the alto aria “Have mercy,” which Alex Ross calls “the most beloved passage in the St. Matthew Passion.” Evoking Peter’s bitter weeping after his denial of Christ, the “keening melody” is interwoven with a “sad, serene, gently dancing violin solo… The singer tries to emulate the violin’s endless melody but keeps falling short, because parts of it lie outside her range. turbulence). 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. Scholarly articles on its structure. 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. The new pressing from original sources is on 180gm vinyl and, to enhance audio quality, no side exceeds 30 minutes. 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 St. John Passion. Buy download online. Text"genres" Biblical%texts% Recitatives,%TurbaPchoruses% Freepoetry% Aria,%Choruses% Hymns%% Arias,%Hymnsettings% % Authors"of"free"poetry:% BartholdHeinrichBrockes% J.S. His second wife, Anna Magdalena, was a singer, and bore him thirteen more children. This sort of turbulent, emotionally charged musical outcry is known as a “turba” (i.e. Listen to excerpt 10, which depicts the whole sequence of Peter’s betrayal, and ends with him weeping. Required fields are marked *. Bach sometimes wrote “symmetrically” too: if the melody would go up or down by a certain interval, the bass line would mirror it by doing the opposite. 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. 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.”. 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. 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. Listen to excerpt 11 to hear this. 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. He notes that in a 1519 treatise on the Crucifixion, Martin Luther had. Bach completed his St. Matthew Passion in time for Good Friday, 1727 (he revised it later, at least once). Program Notes J.S. 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. It’s a melody originally written by one Hans Leo Hassler (1562-1612). Levang, Rex. Willcocks’s comments still hold good and this superb recording justifies them on purely musical grounds, with noticeably brisk tempi, lending a welcome light and nimble touch to proceedings. In St. M… There had already been a long history of Passion music – that is musical settings telling the story of the final, short period in the life of Jesus. (For a peerless example of such chorale singing, listen to excerpts 5, 6, and 7.). 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. There had already been a long history of Passion music – that is musical settings telling the story of the final, short period in the life of Jesus. Instead, it works to give the oratorio coherence, the way a literary motif might in a novel. In yet another, the basses stumble over and over the same phrase, illustrating Jesus’s footsteps as he stumbles under the weight of the cross. J.S. Finally, Bach employs a sort of Greek chorus to respond to the events. He was only twenty, and a recent convert to Christianity. Johann Sebastian Bach is widely regarded the greatest musical genius of all time. As Hans David This new version of the Bach Saint Matthew Passion has a fresh new interpretation of the Passion, as well as Bach's own structuring from the Gospel of Matthew. In the biblical text, vocal soloists portray Jesus, Pilate, other individual characters, and Matthew the Evangelist, delivering their narration and … The St. Matthew Passion of Bach is a massive oratorio set for double chorus and orchestra, multiple soloists, and an Evangelist. Bach's Passion continues to … There was no room for a stage, and no time for scene changes.). As with all great religious art, there is no need to explain or justify such an assertion: the piece has, in and of itself, sufficient power to touch the heart, awaken the imagination, and enliven faith. 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. Discourses on historically accurate performing standards and instrumentation. Bach came from a family of prominent musicians. In St. Matthew Passion we have the narrator, who is called the evangelist, because he recites, in “recitatives,” the story of the crucifixion as told in the gospel, or evangel (from the Latin evangelium). When my wife and I lived in New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music was offering a series of special Passion concerts each spring that dispensed with the customary stand-and-sing presentation. Even so, the experience is vital. What followed two years later was an altogether grander, more magnificent setting. In a way, it’s hardly surprising. 40, while the tenor sings “My Jesus remains silent before the liars’ falsehoods,” the accompaniment is made up of 39 brief chords. Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion, BWV 244, is structured on multiple levels: the composition is structured in three levels of text sources and by the different forms that are used for musical expression. The story here is as follows: Caiaphas consults with leaders to kill Jesus. Motown And Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream Speech, Hemispheres: Prog Rock From Around The World, Best Martin Luther King Songs: 10 Moving Tributes, ‘Happy Birthday’: Stevie Wonder Helps Create Martin Luther King Day, Best David Ruffin Songs: 20 Essential Soul Gems, New Radicals Reunite After 22 Years For Biden-Harris Inauguration Performance, Jon Pardi Wants ‘Tequila Little Time’ As New Single Hits Country Radio, I’m Virtually Going To Graceland: Elvis’ Mansion Launches Online Tours, Gentle Giant Share Early 1970s Denver College Radio Interview, Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous’ Hits No.1 And Breaks Country Streaming Record. Listen to excerpts 12 and 13 - the last recitative, followed by the powerful closing chorus, “In tears of grief.”, Ambrose, Z. Philip. On the occasion of the centenary of the first performance of the St Matthew Passion in Aberdeen in 1912, Peter Parfitt, Musical Director of Aberdeen Bach Choir, has prepared a musical commentary on the work with the text (in German) and translation into English. Bach’s first wife died in 1720, and he remarried the next year. 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’. (According to the Bach scholar Z. Philip Ambrose, the most famous one “O sacred head,” by Han Leo Hassler, was originally a secular love song.) There was no room for a stage, and no time for scene changes.) Matthew Passion” (1999) These performances would … Isoyama, Tadashi. Note that whereas Bach used the organ and other instruments to accompany most voices of the cast, he used strings alone as accompaniment whenever Jesus himself speaks, resulting in what Bernstein called a shimmering “halo” effect. The speeches of various characters – Commentator (soprano), Evangelist (tenor), Christ (bass), Peter (bass), Judas (bass) and so forth – are represented by various solo singers. Specific actors – Pilate, the High Priest, Judas, the crowd – have roles too. 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. Fast forwarding to 2014, the same seems to have happened to one of the best-known music critics of our time, Alex Ross, who attended a performance of the Passion by the Berlin Philharmonic that year and was so deeply affected by it that he wrote an entire piece about the concert in the normally cynical-witty pages of The New Yorker. Back to the composition of the music itself, Bach was also keenly aware that his talent was a gift. With respect to the chorales, their poetic lyrics are perhaps just as moving as their musical power. No. It prompts repentance, urging us to turn from vice toward freedom and salvation. 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. 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. Thus, the score is laid out for Chorus 1 and Orchestra 1, Chorus 2 and Orchestra 2. 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 St Matthew Passion, the strings play a long high chord whenever Jesus sings, setting his singing apart from the other singing like a musical 'halo'. 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. 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. In the first instance, the text refers to Christ’s prediction of his sufferings. Extolling the “invasive beauty of the lamenting arias, which give the sense that Christ’s death is the acutest of personal losses,” he said they had the effect of “pulling all of modern life into the Passion scene. They all seem barren compared to Karl Richter’s intensity with Ernst Haefliger singing eevagelist, Your email address will not be published. In the case of the St. Matthew Passion, this devotion seems to have extended even to the care with which the text was shaped. 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. 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? (This is because most religious music was performed in churches. 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. 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. 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. It is composed in two parts, that were to be … Versions and contemporaneous performances. Then there’s the so-called Lord Supper sequence, where, as mentioned earlier, the phrase “Lord, is it I?” is repeated eleven times – once for each faithful disciple. But what should it be? Another is anguished, set in a minor key with an unsettling chromatic bass line that never really finds its footing till the end. Our vocation is a life of service to God, each other, and you. 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. He was, by now, working as a violinist, organist, and consultant to organ builders. According to the Japanese Bach scholar Tadashi Isoyama, recent research indicates that Bach’s librettist (the Leipzig poet Christian Friedrich Henrici, who went by the pen name Picander) drew on collections of passion sermons included in Bach’s personal library, and that “it seems probable that Bach did not simply select verses and set them to music, but rather influenced the construction of the texts.”. Gardiner, John Eliot. The results are just full of wonder, and bittersweet joy--perfectly suited to the seasons f Easter and Passover, not to mention the Time of the Coronavirus disease plague in 2020. Jens, Inge, ed. Notes at the Bach Museum in Leipzig contain complaints by his contemporaries suggesting that he was too easy on the pupils in his care, who, instead of doing their studies in the evening, ran wild through the streets. The LP comes with a two-page leaflet and original liner notes by Sir John in English and German. 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. To hear both examples, listen to excerpt 8. In short, you don’t need to understand it to be moved by it. Listen to Bach: St. Matthew Passion by Peter Schreier, Rundfunkchor Leipzig & Staatskapelle Dresden on Apple Music. These performances would mark the high point of the church’s year. Just at this point, Bach interrupts the narrative to insert the chorale “’Tis I who am most guilty,” a stark reminder that the real responsibility for Christ’s betrayal is not Judas’s alone, but that each of us must bear our part. Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven (2013) Ross, Alex. The St. Matthew Passion has been presented in staged performances. Many were written around Lutheran chorales, such as “Wake, awake” or “How brightly beams the morning star.”. The Joy of Music (2nd Edition) What is the Bruderhof? It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in Luther's German translation) to music, with chorales and arias. We’ll start in one of the most sublime and powerful corners of J.S. Bach revised the piece considerably several times, but the final performance during his lifetime, in 1749, was similar in form to the first version. 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. In his notes for the original LP set, Sir David justified his deliberate departures from ‘the so-called authentic type of performance’, despite advances in Bach scholarship and a plethora of top-notch period performances. Each of these performances sold out quickly, despite tickets ranging from $30 to $80 apiece. 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. Fania Records: How A New York Label Took Salsa To The World, Pride Of The Opry: Charley Pride Makes Musical And Cultural History, ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’: Bathing In Brian Eno’s Genius. “What makes Gardiner’s St Matthew Passion stand out in the face of stiff competition is, more than anything, his vivid sense of theatre. It was performed only a few more times, “always under his own direction and with his apparently meager ensemble of church musicians.” (David Gordon). In Bach’s time, St Thomas’s had two organ lofts – the larger of the two accommodating the musicians for Sunday services throughout the year, the smaller loft used for the additional numbers needed for the music at Christmas and Easter. The solo vocal and multipart choral styles of Italian Baroque music were strongly influential in Germany. In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. Bernstein, Leonard. Bach did not act as his own librettist for the St Matthew Passion. 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. 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. 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. It is a theatrical concept, a drama. Chris and his wife, Bea, live at The Mount, a Bruderhof in Esopus, New York. Until 1975, it was held that the first performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion was on Good Friday 1729. What sort of piece is Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, that it has such a wide reach and such tremendous staying power? 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. “Atonement: The St. Matthew Passion at the Armony,” The New Yorker, (Oct. 27, 2014) This week we’ll explore music inspired by Good Friday and Easter, both sacred and secular. 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. (“In Nomine Jesu,” which means “In the name of Jesus”) or J.J. (“Jesu Juva,” which means “Help me, Jesus”). (This is because most religious music was performed in churches. “St. Voices is a blog by Bruderhof members, covering topics important to us and to you. 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. It is even written in two Parts (or two ‘Acts’) with an interval (indeed, for the work’s first performance a sermon was preached between the two Parts) – and that is one reason why its first performance in Leipzig met with decidedly mixed reactions. Is unrelievedly somber, as when Jesus has just been crucified reach and such tremendous staying power Good fortune two... These performance spaces line that never really finds its footing till the end the idea of a:! 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