Bach St. John Passion

JS Bach’s Johannes-pAssion

featuring the Princeton University Glee Club and The English Concert
with members of Early Music Prineton
Friday | April 19, 2019
7:30pm | Richardson Auditorium

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Bach composed his first great choral masterpiece, the St John Passion, for Good Friday in 1724: The Glee Club’s Nollner Memorial performance in Princeton falls on that same day, 295 years later. As the culminating event in their residency at Princeton, the world-renowned baroque orchestra ‘The English Concert’ will join our students, along with renowned Bach evangelist James Taylor (tenor), for this special performance of one of the great treasures of choral orchestral repertoire.

Interestingly, the work has a special connection to Princeton, since it was Arthur Mendel, the same Mendel who chaired Princeton’s Music Department for 15 years and whose name adorns Princeton’s music library, who did most to bring the St John Passion to a performable state, creating in 1951 an edition which combines exhaustive scholarship with sound intuition, and which even today serves as a necessary companion to more fashionable modern editions.

Speaking about this monumental musical work, Gabriel Crouch reflects:

“As much as the Passions reveal Bach’s flair for taut drama, it is the reflective commentary and the search for meaning that lingers longest and which sets these works apart. Bach assembles this story by carefully juxtaposing three elements - biblical text (recitative), poetic reflection (the arias), and the soul-searching response of all humanity (the chorales), the sum of which serves to remind us that this is a universal story of sacred love, betrayal, guilt and faith.”