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Passion Pointers: Five Tips for Getting to Know Bach's St. John Passion

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The St. John Passion is one of Bach's two great surviving Passions, or sacred oratorios, the other being the St. Matthew Passion. Bach composed his St. John Passion at the beginning of his long tenure in Leipzig, to be performed at the Good Friday services of 1724.

Since this masterwork is less popular (and less frequently performed) than the St. Matthew Passion, choral director and WQXR host Kent Tritle gives us some basics about the St. John Passion with a set of five Passion Pointers. Listen to these and then tune in to WQXR's live broadcast of the work by Les Violons du Roy from Carnegie Hall on Sunday, March 25.


Pointer One: The many types of music to listen for

Pointer Two: Knowing the difference between the St. John and St. Matthew Passions

Pointer Three: The significance of the work's many chorales

Pointer Four: The way Bach uses male and female voices

Pointer Five: The history of the work's creation