St Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach will be performed by Gabrieli Consort and Players under the direction of their prize-winning artistic director Paul McCreesh. The artists are specialists in the performance of early music, and St Matthew Passion will be performed on period instruments.
St Matthew Passion is one of the two Bach’s passions that have survived intact. Both were written in the last period of Bach's work. The composer was not completely satisfied with St John Passion. His unhappiness was caused by the inconsistency of the text, so after the premiere of the work, so after the premiere Bach continued to make amendments. While working on the St Matthew Passion, Bach turn to Picander to prepare the text. Picander wrote madrigal poems that Bach used to write arias, ariosos and choruses. The libretto was complemented by texts from chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The composer carefully selected fragments of the Holy Scriptures and emphasised their importance in the work, marking them with red ink in the score. Quotations from the Gospel, combined with the deep and reflective ponderings of Christ passion in Picander’s poems, are a perfect combination.
As far as music is concerned, we can consider St Matthew Passion a masterpiece. Even though the work was created almost 300 years ago, it still has the same emotions and influences the audience with unchanged impact. This is not surprising – Johann Sebastian Bach was the master of implementing musical rhetoric. In the work, we find a lot of rhetorical tools and figures that enhance the sound of the work and significantly affect its drama. The description of the Passion of Christ is masterfully presented also thanks to using appropriate compositional techniques and a wealth of Baroque melodies and harmonies. It is worth emphasising that during this concert St Matthew Passion will sound almost the same as during its premiere in 1729. The international specialists in this field will take care of compliance with the standards of performing early music, as the Gabrieli Consort and Players are unquestionable authorities in the interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque works.