Choral Passion

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Passion of Christ is a story that has inspired a wealth of compositions, including J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, one of the most revered works of sacred music. This week's show features movements from Bach's epic work, as well as contemporary works revolving around this story. 

Bach led the premiere of his St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday, 1727, at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. The text is taken from the book of Matthew, and is scored for double choir, orchestra, and soloists. St. Matthew's Passion is more than three hours in length, and recounts events from the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, to his trial, crucifixion and death.

The writing is both immensely expressive and occasionally ominous, and is always evocative of the text. From the emphatic chorus shouts and perpetual motion of the orchestra in Thunder and Storm, to the subdued and sorrowful melismas of Aus Liebe, Bach paints a profound picture of Christ's final hours. Bach often employs chromatic melodies for words such as kill and love, which heightens their level of emotional impact. Almost 300 years later, The St. Matthew Passion continues to move and inspire.

Other passion-based works this week include Tan Dun's Water Passion, Dvorak's Stabat Mater, and. David Lang's The Little Match Girl.



So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen and Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden from Matthaüs-Passion
J.S. Bach
Tölzer Knabenchor and La Petite Bande
Gustav Leonhardt, conductor
Christian Fliegner, soprano
David Cordier, alto
Köln, Germany

Death and Earthquake from Water Passion after St. Matthew
Tan Dun
RIAS-Kammerchor, Sarah Ioannides, Choir Director
Tan Dun, Conductor
Elizabeth Keusch, soprano
Stephen Bryant, bass

kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen from Matthaüs-Passion
J.S. Bach, arr. Mendelssohn
Chorus Musicus Das Neue Orchester
Christoph Spering, conductor
Köln, Germany

Excerpts from Little Match Girl Passion
I. come, daughter    
II. have mercy, my god       
III .we sit and cry
David Lang
Theatre of Voices and Ars Nova Copenhagen
Paul Hiller, conductor

Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder from Matthaüs Passion
J.S. Bach
Collegium Vocale Gent
La Chapelle Royale
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor
Bruges, Belgium

Stabat Mater
I.Tui Nati vulnerati
II.Quando corpus morietur
Westminster Symphonic Choir, Joseph Flummerfelt, conductor
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Zdenek Macal conductor
New Jersey

O Mensch, bewein’dein Sunde grofs from Matthaüs Passion
J.S. Bach
Collegium Vocale Gent
La Chapelle Royale
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor
Bruges, Belgium

Comments [3]

Melodee Kornacker from Columbus OH

But for The Choral Mix, I might never have heard The Little Match Girl Passion ... thank you!

Apr. 17 2011 11:43 PM

Thanks, Maestro, for a blissful hour of Passion. Bach's moves me like no other, and that Tan Dun was breathtaking.

Apr. 17 2011 09:53 PM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan NYC

Bach's St. Matthew Passion is the greatest piece of music ever composed. Discuss.

On the other hand, The Little Match Girl totally blew my mind. The drums and bells on one of the choruses are absolutely haunting.

Listening to The Choral Mix every Sunday morning is like attending a wonderful university music class. It's expanded my musical horizons.

Apr. 17 2011 10:42 AM

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