In observation of Good Friday, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir perform J.S. Bach’s St John Passion! The extraordinary Daniel Harding leads the stupendous ensemble in this deeply moving masterpiece, one of Bach's most celebrated achievements.
Upon taking the post of Leipzig's Kapellmeister in 1723, Bach was ordered to write only music that would inspire “the utmost piety” in its listeners, to assuage the fears of certain city counselors faced with the hiring of a court musician. The master therefore sought a way to combine religious fervor with a certain theatricality, finally resulting in the St John Passion, which premiered on Good Friday 1724 in Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church, conducted by the composer himself.
This iconic and awe-inspiring work, a true Baroque monument, moves smoothly between recitatives, choral highlights, and arias, interpreted here by a sterling group of soloists with the Swedish Radio Choir. The always excellent Andrew Staples and Matthew Rose take on the roles of Christ and the Evangelist, supported by the astonishing voices of baritone Christian Gerhaher, soprano Julia Kleiter, and alto Ann Hallenberg.
Photo: Daniel Harding © Julian Hargreaves