Happy Classical Easter


Wishing everyone a very happy Easter! I thought I’d leave you with some beautiful music by Johann Sebastian Bach, the St. Matthew Passion BWV 244. It was written in 1727 and retells the Passion story according to the gospel of Matthew. The story of Jesus has provided composers with countless opportunities to write amazingly beautiful compositions over the centuries.

Above is Bach’s signature cross which spells “BACH” in German musical notation (clockwise: Bb, A, C, B). Notice the four different clefs and the note in the middle? Bach uses this musical idea in 63B. Chorus “Truly this was the Son of God”. (click it to find out more)

In this composition Bach uses a double choir which quite often alternate between each other (cori spezzati). Bach also utilises a four-part chorale which add intimacy and provide us with recurring melodies (motifs). Soloists also perform two kinds of solos, a recitative and an aria. Recitatives are used to convey the story line through a lot of text. Arias repeat the same idea to show a character’s emotion, such as a lament or love song.

Read the German libretto (words) with English translation

Go to this page to search through the whole performance. See if you can spot the cori spezzati, chorales, arias, recitatives and orchestral interludes.

1. Opening Chorus (Come, Daughters, Help Me Mourn)

67. Recitative (Soli) with Chorus (Now the Lord is Laid to Rest)
68. Chorus (We Sit Down In Tears)

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