Bach’s St Matthew Passion is revived
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is now recognized as the towering genius of classical music but there was a time after his death when he had largely faded from public memory. His work was respected by later composers but JS Bach’s major works were seldom performed. Such was the case of his monumental musical treatment of the suffering and death of Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew. Written for two choirs and two orchestras it was meant to be performed on Good Friday.
Felix Mendelssohn had been given a copy of The St Matthew Passion which Bach had written in 1727 and which had not been performed outside of Leipzig since 1750. Mendelssohn’s staging of the oratorio in 1829 attracted great crowds in three sell-our performances and contributed much to the revival of interest in Bach’s music.
Here is a video of the final chorus, performed by a Swedish choir and orchestra.