Bach’s rich musical legacy as we know it today is partly the result of a historical accident. When he applied for the position of Kantor at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche in 1722, Bach was only third choice for the post. Telemann turned the offer down after some deliberation and Graupner was not released from his post of Kapellmeister in Hesse. ‘Since we cannot get the best, then we will have to settle for average’, the Council concluded, as it handed the title to Bach. Join us as we step back in time and explore the programme that Bach put together for this fateful application, a move that would shape the history of western music for centuries to come.
From the intractable swell of the opening chorus to the profound solemnity of the last, its tone one of quiet resignation, the Matthew Passion is a work with the power to move us like no other. Bach conceived it on a grand scale, allowing for double chorus and double orchestra, and the themes it explores are just as monumental too. How each of us, of all faiths and none, can find joy and hope even amidst the depths of sorrow.
We welcome Trevor Pinnock, a towering figure of the early music movement, to Dunedin Consort for the first time. He will conduct the work in its original format of one voice per part.