John Passion - J.S. Bach

The first recording to show Bach's masterpiece within its wider liturgical context.

John Passion - J.S. Bach

 Gramophone Recording of the Month (March 2013):
'...naturalness and emotional honesty are what emerge from this tight-knit and perfectly paced ensemble Passion, in which Bach's complex succession of recitatives, arias, choruses and chorales has seldom sounded so convincingly of a piece.'
  • John Butt - Director 
  • Nicholas Mulroy - Evangelist & Tenor
  • Matthew Brook - Jesus & Bass
  • Joanne Lunn - Ancilla & Soprano
  • Clare Wilkinson - alto
  • Robert Davies - Pilate & Peter

Bach's John Passion:

This recording marks the return of the Dunedin Consort's star studded cast, including Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook, Joanne Lunn and Clare Wilkinson, to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Director John Butt has given listeners an interpretation that will provide a refreshing outlook on this masterpiece and will show the John Passion in a completely new light, putting the piece for the first time on record within its original liturgical context. 

The purpose of this recording is to recreate the context of a passion performance during Bach’s time at Leipzig. In addition to the hallmark performance of Bach’s masterpiece by the Dunedin Consort, the recording also includes organ preludes, motets by the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir (directed by James Grossmith) and a congregational choir of amateur singers performing hymns and chorales from an original 1682 Leipzig hymn book. This recording even features a German sermon from Bach’s own time which will be available for free download on the Linn website. For those who would like a more modern perspective on the possible meanings and implications of this passion, we will also add a range of alternative meditations by theologians, musicologists and other thinkers over the coming months..
Bach first performed his John Passion (Johannes-Passion) on Good Friday 1724, during his first year as Cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig.  Not only would this have been a new musical experience for the congregation, but the very genre of the Oratorio Passion had only been introduced in the two principal churches two years previously.  Bach changed various aspects of this passion every time he performed it, particularly in 1725. For this recording we generally follow the composite edition of Arthur Mendel, which conflates some of Bach’s revisions for a cancelled performance in 1739 with some refinements he made for the 1749-50 performances. Given that it is impossible to tailor the liturgical elements to one particular year, we might consider this to be a (re)creation of the cancelled performance of 1739.
This recording also includes organ preludes performed by John Butt on the Collins organ at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh where the recording took place. This provides the listener with a truly unique experience as, for the first time on record, they can hear this performance as it was originally intended. 
Includes Sermon, Scores and other bibliographical details.


John Passion - J.S. Bach

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More Dunedin Consort recordings

Requiem - W.A. Mozart Six Brandenburg Concertos - J. S. Bach John Passion - J.S. Bach Esther - G.F. Handel Mass in B Minor - J.S. Bach Matthew Passion - J.S. Bach Acis and Galatea - G.F. Handel Messiah – G.F. Handel In the beginning