He had declared himself ready to prove his loyalty not only as Cantor but also as a colleague in the St. Thomas School. […] and he should make such compositions as were not theatrical.

Bach wrote his St. Matthew Passion as Cantor in Leipzig. When he took office, his pietist contemporaries urged him not to write too theatrically. His great three-hour Passion (premiere in 1727) with double choir and orchestra hardly meets that requirement. It describes the Passion of Jesus according to Matthew and delivers a forceful picture – in the form of poetic insertions by Picander – of the human being in all his vulnerability: pain, betrayal, forgiveness, love, compassion and mercy. It is hard to believe that what for us today is the most important piece of Passion music was performed just three times and then forgotten. It is thanks to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy that it was revived in Berlin in 1829.

Philippe Herreweghe is one of the most renowned Bach interpreters of our day. In his work with the Passions, Herreweghe constantly finds new approaches. Together with him and his Collegium Vocale Gent we are celebrating our 50th anniversaries. The only concert being given in Austria.

 

Julian Pregardien – Evangelist
Thomas E. Bauer – Jesus
Dorothee Mields, Grace Davison – Soprano
Alex Potter, William Shelton – Countertenor
Reinoud Van Mechelen, Hugo Hymas – Tenor
Peter Kooij, Tobias Berndt – Bass

Choir and orchestra of Collegium Vocale Gent
Conductor: Philippe Herreweghe