We are really thrilled to have this opportunity to perform in the superb venue of Chichester Cathedral.
Bach’s St. John Passion was first performed in 1724. Bach revised the piece considerably several times, but the final performance during his lifetime, in 1749, was similar in form to the first version. For conventional forces of soloists, chorus and orchestra, the St. John Passion tells John’s account of the crucifixion through Biblical passages and poetry from a variety of sources. The story is told by an Evangelist and solo singers, and arias and chorales fit between the dramatic action.
The beautiful, plangent opening chorus, an exordium addressed to Jesus, is startlingly dissonant and sets the tone for a bold composition of an apparent spontaneity which belies its careful construction. Part 2 likewise begins with a particularly memorable passage, though for very different reasons: this is where the chorus really finds its teeth. Portraying the crowd calling for the execution of Jesus, the chorus is given particularly vicious, spiteful music featuring rising chromatic scales and a whirlwind of strings.