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St. Matthew Passion

Composed in 1727, it’s one of two surviving settings of the last days of Jesus Christ composed by J.S. Bach. We’ll explore the history of this masterpiece and sample different recordings.

 
Program 1

St. Matthew Passion is considered one of the best pieces of classical music. Bill begins by examining the history of the Lutheran church in Germany and the early musical representations of Christ’s last days, including Bach’s earlier St. John’s Passion. Bill also begins his dissection of St. Matthew, observing its operatic style.

J.S. Bach: “Herr, unser Herrscher” fr. St. John Passion
Staatskapelle Dresden & Rundfunkchor Leipzig/Schrier
Phil 422088
9:45
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpt)
CSO & Chorus/Solti
Decca 425691
2:49, 1:25
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J.S. Bach: “Kommt, Ihr Töchter” fr. St. Matthew Passion
English Baroque Soloists & Monteverdi Choir/Gardiner
Archiv 427648
5:56
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra/Herreweghe
HM 951676-78
:42, :46, 8:14, 7:55, :40, 9:44
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Program 2

We continue our examination of St. Matthew Passion with the Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra through the first part of the Passion. We close the program with one of Bach’s early cantatas for Easter.

J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra/Herreweghe
HM 951676-78
1:01, 3:41, 6:31, :40, :57, 4:15, 2:27, :45, 2:21, 4:37, 8:00
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J.S. Bach: Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4 (excerpts)
American Bach Soloists/Thomas
Koch 7235
:28, 10:12
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J.S. Bach arr. Stokowski: Chorale fr. the “Easter Cantata,” BWV 4
BBC Phil/Bamert
Chan 9259
3:47
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Program 3

We pick up the Passion in the second part of Bach’s great work, coming in after the arrest of Jesus and concluding with Peter’s denial of Christ. Bill concludes with the fourth Brandenburg Concerto and another of Bach’s cantatas.

J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra/Herreweghe
HM 951676-78
11:36, 2:01, :53, 2:14
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Klemperer
EMI 67542
9:00, 1:08
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpt)
Gabrieli Consort & Players/McCreesh
Archiv 474200
:36
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J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, II & III
Academy of St. Martin in-the-Fields/Marriner
Phil 400077
8:40
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J.S. Bach: “Ich habe genug” fr. Cantata BWV 82
Camerata Academica Salzburg/Norrington
Decca 466570
6:50
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G. Gould: “So You Want to Write a Fugue?”
Julliard String Quartet & Benson-Guy, s.; Darian, ms.; Bressler, ten.; Gramm, bs.
Sony 52679
3:55
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Program 4

Bill begins with music for Good Friday from Haydn and Osvaldo Noé Golijov before returning to Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the middle of part two. Part two concludes with the release of Barabbas to the roaring crowd.

Haydn: The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross, I
Orchestra of St. Lukes/Rudel
Musicmasters 60238
6:18
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Golijov: La Pasión Según San Marcos (excerpts)
Orquesta La Pasión & Scola Cantorum de Caracas/Guinand
Hänssler Cl 98404
12:24
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra/Herreweghe
HM 951676-78
2:47, 6:07, 2:17, 1:03, 5:52, 2:46, 6:47
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J.S. Bach: “Bist Du Bei Mir,” BWV 508
Orch./Sadin; Battle, s.
Sony 62035
2:19
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Program 5

Before Bill concludes his dissection of St Matthew Passion, he opens with a section of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Part three of the Passion begins with Jesus being mocked by the soldiers of Pontius Pilate, leads to the crucifixion and death of Christ, and ends with Jesus laid in the tomb. 

J.S. Bach: Prelude & Fugue No. 13 fr. the Well-Tempered Clavier
Fellner, p.
ECM 1853
3:18, 1:14
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
Ghent Collegium Vocale & Orchestra/Herreweghe
HM 951676-78
4:49, 5:48, 3:29, 4:32, 3:48, 2:31, 7:43
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J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion (excerpts)
CSO & Chorus/Solti
Decca 425691
11:08
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