Thursday, August 14, 2014
'St Matthew Passion'
Hungarian Festival Choir - Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra - conducted by Géza Oberfrank
St Matthew Passion
The St Matthew Passion (also frequently St Matthew's Passion; German: Matthäus-Passion), BWV 244 is a sacred oratorio from the Passions written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music. The original Latin title Passio Domini Nostri J.C. Secundum Evangelistam Matthaeum translates to "The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Evangelist Matthew."
Although Bach wrote four (or five) settings of the Passions only two have survived; the other is the St John Passion. The St Matthew Passion was probably first performed on Good Friday (11 April) 1727 in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach was the Kantor of the School and Directoris Chori musici of Leipzig. He revised it by 1736, performing it again on 30 March 1736, this time including two organs in the instrumentation. He further revised and performed it again on 23 March 1742. Possibly due to the second organ being under repair, he switched the continuo instrument to harpsichord in Chorus II, reinforced the continuo group in Chorus II with a viola da gamba, and inserted a ripieno soprano in both movements 1 and 29. There is evidence of a further revision in 1743–1746, when the score as it is known originated, but no performance.