Bach was a following a centuries-old tradition when he set the crucifixion story from the St John Gospel for his first Easter in Leipzig in 1724. But it had never been done quite like this.
The St John Passion presents the narrative with an immediacy that gives it a faster-paced dramatic character than the later St Matthew Passion. It is framed by two momentous choruses – the first conveying the anguish of the narrative that is about to unfold and the last, a characteristically Lutheran sense of repose in death.
The work is punctuated by arias of extraordinary beauty that comment on the significance of the passion and by chorales that are a statement of faith. The drama, the architectural structure, the involvement of the audience (congregation) in the significance of the work and, above all, the communication of intense emotion makes this one of the greatest masterpieces of the Western musical tradition.
Nota Bene will perform the St John Passion with Chiesa Ensemble (led by Rebecca Struthers) and an outstanding group of soloists.
Peter Walls will give a pre-concert talk at 1 pm.
Nota Bene is directed by Peter Walls
Chiesa Ensemble (with Douglas Mews and Robert Oliver)
Soloists: Lachlan Craig, Simon Christie, Nicola Holt, Maaike Christie-Beekman, LJ Crichton and Will King