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5.4.15

On Forbes: Bach & Beyond: Music For The Easter Weekend


Bach & Beyond: Music For The Easter Weekend



In an interview with then music director of the Washington National Opera Heinz Fricke back in 2007, I asked him as a seasonal aside, whether there was any particular music for Easter that he liked. He thought about it for a while, then added: “Anything by Bach really. Maybe not the Christmas-Oratorio, but the only reason to exclude that is its name.” My sentiments exactly.

Bach At Easter
Still, there’s so much by Bach that is topical, why not start there? Good Friday is served by the Passions Bach wrote, the St.Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and the St.John Passion (BWV 245). (The apocryphal St.Luke Passion listed as BWV 246 is most likely not by Bach but by a contemporary of his, which Bach, who copied out the score, had performed. Maybe, but probably not by Johann Melchior Molter. The St.Mark Passion hasn’t survived and was presumably a “passion-pasticcio,” cobbled together entirely or largely from cantatas pilfered for the purpose.) Everyone has favorite recordings among the available multiple dozens of the St.John and St.Matthew Passions – and even these change cyclically. Mine, for now, are these:
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