This monumental St Matthew Passion is hailed as the greatest setting of the Passion story in western music, but surprisingly it was not until almost 100 years after its premiere that Bach’s music got the recognition it deserved.
Composed in 1727, it is a setting of sections of St Matthew’s Gospel, designed as part of Good Friday Vespers for the strict Lutheran stronghold of Leipzig. Following its premiere, it received two subsequent performances in 1736 and the 1740s. After that it was not performed again until its revival in Berlin in 1829 by Mendelssohn, which marked a renaissance of Bach’s sacred vocal music.
The work comprises two choruses, two orchestras (each with continuo organ) and a group of soloists, including Jesus Christ and the Evangelist.
East Sussex Bach Choir are combining forces with The Fletching Singers and will be singing the English translation of The St Matthew Passion.
The concert will be dedicated to the memory of Nick Milner-Gulland, the former Music Director of The Fletching Singers who recently passed away.
BACH | B MINOR MASS
East Sussex Bach Choir
Baroque Collective Singers
The Baroque Collective
Saturday 21st April 2018, 7:30pm
Town Hall, Lewes
Tickets prices: To be Confirmed
Bach composed his Mass in B minor a year before his death in 1750. Despite its sheer scale and grandeur, Bach didn't even give the work a name, and exists only as a collection of itinerant manuscripts.
When the work is heard in its entirety, the listener comes away with the impression that this is a piece of music the composer had been building up to writing for the whole of his life. It therefore seems ironic that much of this best-loved work was ‘bottom-drawer’ music – music that Bach had either put by earlier or recycled. The Kyrie and Gloria were written in 1733 for the Elector of Saxony at Dresden, and the Sanctus dates back to 1724. The Qui tollis dates back even later, and was most probably based on a cantata from 1714. Add a Credo and an Et incarnatus est movement, however, and the whole piece is given a new lease of life.
Bach never heard the Mass performed in its entirety; in fact, it was not until 1859, more than a century after Bach died, that the entire work was performed at a single sitting.
The renowned Baroque Collective Players and Singers will be joining East Sussex Bach Choir in this performance along with high quality soloists.