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April 2014
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Passion According to John, Bach

"The Crucifixion," 1627 by Francisco de Zurbarán, Art Institute of Chicago

"The Crucifixion," 1627 by Francisco de Zurbarán, Art Institute of Chicago

When he prepared his father’s obituary, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach counted the composition of 5 passions—the musical telling of the suffering and death of Jesus. Three are lost. What remains is treasured: the St. Matthew Passion and the St. John Passion.

With each storyteller, Matthew or John, the tone, the details and the emphasis diverge, for example, it is in the passion according to John that Peter draws his sword, slicing off the right ear of Malchus, the High Priest’s servant (the other Gospels do not identify the swordsman as Peter). In John, Jesus is in control, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

When Jesus speaks of the cup in the Matthew Passion, he is more vulnerable: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

For hundreds of years, the two Passions by Johann Sebastian Bach have awed and baffled musicians and scholars alike. Hear each of these seminal works on WFMT, on two consecutive Fridays.

Download the score to the St. John Passion: StJohnPart1     StJohnPart2

Friday, April 4 at 8:00 pm

Johann Sebastian Bach: St. John Passion
Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra
Jane Glover, conductor
Yulia Van Doren, soprano
Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano
Paul Agnew, tenor
Nathan Berg, bass-baritone


Friday, April 11 at 8:00 pm- LIVE from the Harris Theater

Johann Sebastian Bach: St. John Passion
Chicago Bach Choir & Orchestra
John Nelson, conductor
Nicholas Phan, Evangelist
Stephen Morscheck,Jesus
Lisette Oropesa, soprano
Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor
Colin Ainsworth, tenor
Matthew Brook, bass-baritone
Tobias Greenhalgh, baritone

Donald Nally,Chorus Master

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