Background to Bach’s St John Passion

Choir members and audiences may be interested in this piece by our own Eric Cooke, which gives a very interesting feel for the way in which Bach’s profound Christian faith informed his authorship of the music we are singing: StJohn Article.

The attached poster perhaps reflects what the music might mean to someone with a Christian faith.

Eric has also identified a literal translation of the text from the original German into English. This gives more of a feel for the meaning than the version in the score, which has necessarily been adapted to fit the music. In the original there is much direct use of Martin Luther’s translation of the Passion events in the Gospel of John into vernacular (everyday) German, giving the text a particularly earthy/grounded feeling, which comes across in the version at the link. Much of the rest is by the infamous Anon – possibly some important parts are by Bach himself!

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