Sunday, April 13, 2014

Johann Sebastian Bach - St. Matthew's Passion

Holy Week calls for the musical A List, and so we find ourselves with Bach.  It well may be that this is the Master's greatest work, but it went for nearly a century after his death without being performed at all.  Felix Mendelssohn unearthed it and performed it to great acclaim in 1829, nearly 80 years after the composer's death.  Perhaps the best comparison of the piece is to Handel's Messiah, which also tells the story of the passion.

Like The Messiah, this is big music - it is typically performed with two orchestras and two choirs.  Unlike Handel (who wrote much more "commercial" music), this sounds much more "churchy" as you'd expect from Bach's career as a church musician and composer.  In fact, you very likely know the tune that plays at around 34:40, and can hum along.

Youtube typically has a 10 minute rule, not allowing videos longer than that.  They (quite rightly) make an exception for this, and so you have the entire two and a half hour piece.


libertyman said...

Excellent and timely choice.

Who could write 2 hours of music today?

Old NFO said...

Figures, I have a LOUSY connection... fits and starts... And I was able to scroll to 38, and you're right! Thanks, I'll cue this one for when I get back.