This term we have been working on what is arguably the finest work of its type, possibly even of the whole choral repertoire - The St John Passion by J S Bach.
This Passion was written for St Thomas's church in Leipzig but its first performance was actually in St Nicholas' Church in Leipzig on Good Friday 1724.
Bach took the strong view that this is a piece for the whole congregation, so he wrote it in the vernacular, using Luther's version of the bible, which the congregation would know, and included Hymns (Chorales) which they could all sing.
Although this work is usually performed as a concert piece these days. there is a strong argument for singing it in the native language of the audience.
Cantilena has chosen to perform a new translation which matches Bach's musical rhythms. In that way we lose neither the music or the passion.
And this work is full of passion, from the crazy rantings of the crowds of Jews, soldiers and priests to the personal reflections of the arias and the commentary of the chorales.
The setting is full of human drama: Peter's angry outbursts, Pilate's baffled attempt at justice, the soldiers' greed. The story is told by an evangelist, starting with the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and ending with Jesus' death.
From the opening bars we are aware that this story is about suffering and sorrow. The final chorus: "sleep well.... and I will lay aside my weeping..." leaves us with the sense of loss that follows Jesus' death. We will have to wait until Easter Day for this to be resolved.
Come and immerse yourselves in this gripping and enduring tale of love, betrayal and grief.
Here are the details:
7.30 PM Friday 12 April 2019
St Mary's Church, Glastonbury
Tickets £12.00 (£1.00 children)
from 01278 22870, from Dickett's stationers, Glastonbury, or on the door.