Holy Days

April 12 to 14, 2017

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is one of the greatest composers of all time. The influence of Bach's music on generations has been so overwhelming that it is impossible to imagine music history without him.

The St Matthew Passion tells the story of the life and death of Jesus Christ as described in the Gospel of Matthew. Bach probably wrote the piece in 1728. The passion was first performed April 15, 1729 at Leipzig’s St Thomas Church, where Bach was cantor.

Following Bach's death, his passions largely disappeared. Thanks in part to composer Felix Mendelssohn, the St Matthew Passion was rediscovered and performed in 1827. It has become a tradition in many western countries to perform this piece in the period leading up to Easter - for many, Easter and the St Matthew Passion are inextricably linked!


Wednesday April 12 at 21:00 CET | Bach -  St John Passion 

The Bach Collegium Japan choir and orchestra are rising stars and celebrated baroque specialists. Recorded live at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan, they perform the St John Passion with only a small ensemble of about 50 musicians (as was customary at the time) under former Ton Koopman student, Masaaki Suzuki. 

Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
Performers: Bach Collegium Japan
Soloists: Gerd Tuerck, Stephan MacLeod, Chiyuki Urano, Miduri Suzuki, Robin Blaze
Location: Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Year: 2000


Thursday April 13 at 21:00 CET |Bach -  St Matthew's Passion

Behold a beautiful interpretation of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's greatest masterpieces:  St Matthew's Passion. Under the great Ton Koopman, this timeless piece is interpreted in a truly authentic and stunning fashion.

Conductor: Ton Koopman
Performers: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir


Friday April 14 at 21:00 CET | Bach -  St Matthew Passion

The St Matthew Passion tells the story of the last days of Jesus. He is betrayed, tried, crucified and buried. The lyrics were compiled by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici’ pseudonym), probably in close consultation with Bach himself. For their theme, they took the story as told by St Matthew the Evangelist. As different groups or people have their say, the singers get different roles – Christ, Judas, Peter, a slave girl, the pupils, the high priests, the people and the soldiers, etc. At key moments in the story, Bach and Picander added chorales and arias as a reflection of the biblical story. The action is suspended and the events are placed in the theological context of Bach’s day. The chorale lyrics and melodies come from the Lutheran hymn book, and were well known to the congregation in Leipzig. Even though Bach’s harmonies were new, everyone would have recognised the melody and the words. However, the lyrics for the opening and closing choruses and the arias were brand new. Both the arias and the chorales often connect seamlessly with the evangelical words.

Conductor: Jos van Veldhoven
Performers: Dutch Bach Society
Location: Grote Kerk, Naarden, the Netherlands
Year: 2014