The St John Passion BWV 245 was Johann Sebastian Bach’s first and is his most oft performed passion. It’s a repository of the best of Baroque writing, replete with choruses and da capo arias, recitatives, tutti and small group (concertino) sections. It contains writing and orchestration that makes Baroque music able to fulfil the twin desires of glorious emotion and intellectual stimulation.
The Sydney Chamber Choir presents Bach’s St John Passion BWV 245 in collaboration with the Adelaide Chamber Singers, conducted by Carl Crossing OAM, the founder and director of the Adelaide ensemble. Violinist Lucinda Moon will lead the period instrument ensemble with soloists drawn from the ranks of early music specialists. Soprano Belinda Montgomery and mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell are joined by Bach specialist tenor Robert McFarlane performing the role of The Evangelist, The two bass- baritone roles will be sung by Craig Everingham as Pilatus and senior Sydney Conservatorium student Alexander Knight performing the role of Christus.
The St John Passion was first performed on Good Friday in 1724 at the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig. The following year it was performed at Leipzig’s other church, the Tomaskirche. The text is taken from chapters 18 and 19 of the Gospel of St John, as well as a number of other poems and writings from other authors, one of whom was Barthold Heinrich Brockes a German lawyer, senator and religious poet.
The choruses include some of Bach most beloved melodies, including In meines Herzens Grunde and Ruht Wohle. The music, at varying times ominous, ferocious, acerbic, tender and optimistic perfectly brings the story of the passion to life.
Sydney Chamber Choir’s Musical Director, Paul Stanhope is excited at the prospet of the collaboration with the Adelaide Chamber Singers :”It will be a performance of finesse, superb tuning and ensemble, on a large scale with over 50 singers from the combined choirs. This will be the first time that Sydney Chamber Choir has worked with Carl and I know from having seen him in action that he will be the demanding, detailed and consummate musician that we all expect. Carl is a conductor with a great generosity of human spirit enormous experience. I can’t think of anyone better to be out the front of these choirs!”
The Sydney Chamber Choir and Adelaide Chamber Singers have already performed this program in Adelaide on 16 and 17 March, as part of the Adelaide Festival. “Coming direct from performances at the Adelaide Festival, it will be a concert of great insight and skill, from two of Australia’s finest choirs, who insist on the highest of standards,” said Stanhope.
Read a review of the Adelaide performance:
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