Bach – St Matthew Passion
The passion is a sacred (religious) piece of music based on the story of Jesus’ final days. This one is called St Matthew as it is based on the text found in the gospel of Matthew. There is also one written using the gospel of John. It was written to be performed in a church service on Good Friday - and is still performed on this day in churches and concert halls all over the world. Mrs Hedges will be singing it on Good Friday in Symphony Hall!
The music is composed by John Sebastian Bach who is considered one of the most famous composers of Western music. He wrote music in the Baroque era (about 300 years ago).
The story of the passion is sung by a tenor ‘The Evangelist’, 2 choirs, a ripieno chorus and a group of soloists. It is accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen
Come, you daughters, help me to lament
This is a chorus sung by 2 choirs and chamber orchestra. The ‘ripieno’ choir, which is made up of trebles (children), sing a hymn tune over the top of the choirs.
Look out for instruments which we learnt about last term: violin, viola, cello, double bass and a lute. There are also wind instruments. In this performace, the instruments are authentic and of the time so the flues are made of wood and the bows may look a slightly different shape.
Erbarme Dich Mein Gott
‘Have mercy on me Lord, for the sake my tears’ - this aria reflects on how Peter felt, alone in the garden after he realised that he has denied Jesus three times, as was prophesised. This is a male voice singing an alto part (this is called a contralto or a counter tenor).
Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben
Out of Love my Saviour wants to die. This is a soprano aria. She is singing about Jesus' final moments. It is a really moving piece of music.