Christ Crucified (c.1632), Diego Velázquez. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

On Saturday, 25th March, Emma will sing as the alto soloist in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, together with the Residentiekoor, baritone Bora Balçi, a period ensemble, and conductor Martin van der Brugge.

The St. Matthew Passion was composed in 1727. It was first performed in the St. Thomas church in Leipzig, where Bach was organist, possibly in 1727 and certainly in 1729. It was performed regularly at the St. Thomas church until the end of the eighteenth century.

Perhaps surprisingly, the St. Matthew Passion was not performed outside of Leipzig for at least a hundred years. In 1829, Felix Mendelssohn conducted a revival performance in Berlin. This revival helped introduce the works of J.S. Bach to a wider audience. In 1854, the St. Matthew Passion was performed in London. The Bach Society of London was founded five years earlier in 1849 in order to introduce Bach’s works to the public.

Today, it is inconceivable that it took over a century for Bach to become widely known and performed. Here in the Netherlands, the St. Matthew Passion has a prominent role in Passion tide. It is very probably the most-widely performed work of classical music in the country.

Performances are at 14:00 and 16:00 in the Remonstrantse Kerk, Laan van Meerdervoort 955, The Hague. These two concerts include a selection of twenty sections of the St. Matthew Passion, interlaced with story telling. It is a great opportunity for those unfamiliar with the oratorio to become acquaint anted with it.

For more information, see here.

Tickets are available here.