According to chapters XVIII and XIX of The Gospel of John
Freshly appointed cantor in Leipzig, Bach conducted for the first time this St John Passion at St. Nicholas Church on Good Friday of the year 1724.
It is the oldest of the two surviving passions by the Cantor, who reworked it several times for different performances between 1724 and 1747. He performed four versions in total, and we kept the best of these four to present an optimal version, magnificent and well balanced.
In St Thomas of Leipzig, Bach had an experienced choral and instrumental ensemble that permitted him to deploy the virtuosity of the arias and choirs. Bach could use rhetoric effects to highlight the dramatic and dolorist aspects of the texts, creating an intense work of art.
On Good Friday 1724, hardly a year after his arrival in Leipzig, Bach gave this first great masterpiece. It was then by far the most important of his compositions and it has remained one of the public’s favourites for its extraordinary human dimension.
Sebastian Noack, Vox Christi
Kristen Witmer, soprano
Daniel Elgersma, alto
Thomas Hobbs, tenor (on 1st June)
Benedikt Kristjánsson, tenor (on 17 July)
Stephan MacLeod, bass and Pilate
La Chapelle Harmonique (choir and orchestra)
Valentin Tournet, direction
1st June 2018
17 July 2018
Crusader Fortress, Acre, Israel