Chamber Choir

Bach - St John Passion

Thursday 21 March 2024, 19:30 - 21:30
St James's Sussex Gdnsmap ]
Sussex Gardens
London W2 3UD

Orlando Chamber Choir
Lucy Goddard, director
Ruairi Bowen, tenor (Evangelist)
Gareth Brynmor John, baritone (Jesus)
Jimmy Holliday, bass (Pilate)
Clare Lloyd-Griffiths, soprano
Kate Symonds-Joy, mezzo-soprano
Sebastian Hill, tenor
Musica Poetica

Bach’s St John Passion combines the words of an ageing eyewitness of Jesus’ crucifixion, reflecting on what must have been the most influential event of his lifetime, with music by a deeply Lutheran composer to whom the Reformation will have given these words new urgency and depth.

The narrative, taken from the German Luther Bible, is attributed to the apostle John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Bach set his testimony to exquisite recitatives which our soloists will interpret for you, with regular interjections from the choir in the guise of various crowds. The stunning arias and reflective chorales, based on hymns familiar in Bach’s time, provide moral summaries of the events.

With its colourful orchestral accompaniment, Bach’s St John Passion paints an expressive and immediate picture of Jesus’ last few days, conveying the anger, fear, resignation and joy in the various voices – and once again impressing and moving the listener with this timeless story of sacrifice and salvation. The chorus Ruht wohl, almost at the end of the passion, is famously hard to sing, not for technical but for emotional reasons.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
St John Passion