David Burchell, conductor
Soloists: Iain Tetley (Evangelist), Scott Bezett (Jesus), Lois Johnston (Soprano), Claire Barton (Alto), Andrew Grenon (Tenor), Malcolm Leitch (Bass)
City Choir Dunedin
Christchurch City Choir
Dunedin Symphony Orchestra
City Choir Dunedin is proud to present Bach’s epic work: St Matthew Passion. The resources for St Matthew Passion are huge, requiring a double choir, a large orchestra and seven soloists.
Christchurch City Choir will join us to provide the second choir and they are excited to be involved in this most marvellous of works. The acclaimed soloists are Iain Tetley (Evangelist), Scott Bezett (Jesus), Lois Johnston (Soprano), Claire Barton (Alto), Andrew Grenon (Tenor) and Malcolm Leitch (Bass). The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra will provide orchestral support while David Burchell will conduct this highlight in Dunedin’s musical calendar.
In the Middle Ages Christian churches began observing Holy Week by retelling the story of Christ’s crucifixion in music. Bible verses were set to chant melodies, with St Matthew Passion culminating in one of the most ambitious musical compositions of all time.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed his St Matthew Passion for the 1727 Good Friday service at St Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany. The work is the largest single composition Bach ever wrote, both in terms of length and in terms of forces called for in the score.
The story of the Passion begins in the turmoil of Jesus’s last days in Jerusalem and ends with his crucifixion and burial. The drama is brought to life by Bach’s musical expression of the Christian tenets of love, grace, and salvation. This epic work, perhaps Bach’s most personal, often moves from a moment of violent operatic drama to a solo aria, frozen in time, an utterance from deep inside the soul.
The St Matthew Passion is one the greatest creations, revealing layers of meaning in the text. The great variety of music in the Passion is dramatic, passionate and emotional, and surprises abound. With more than 250 musicians on stage, this performance will be epic and one not to be missed.