Bach, Johannespassion (St John Passion), BWV 245

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the St. John Passion in Cöthen during the
winter of 1722/23. The text is drawn from chapters 18 and 19 of the Gospel
according to St. John, and includes some excerpts from St. Mathew and
additional text from a Passion poem by the Hamburg town councillor Barthold
Heinrich Brockes. The composer led the first performance at the Good Friday
services on 7 April 1724 at St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, where he had
since become municipal music director and cantor of the Thomasschule. This
Passion is heard less often today than the St. Matthew Passion, perhaps
because the St. John Passion is in some ways more raw and evokes the
anguish of the Passion more painfully than the St. Matthew work.
A musician's musician, an occasional firebrand and a constant paradox -
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (born in 1929) is one of the most profound and
intriguing conductors of our time. Considered one of the world's leading
specialists of Baroque music, he has long since turned his attention to
Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and even to Jacques Offenbach and Johann
Strauss. He spent many years as a cellist with the Wiener Symphoniker
before founding the "Concentus Musicus Wien" with his wife Alice in 1953.
It soon became one of the world's most respected ensembles specializing in
the performance of early music on original instruments. In the 1970s,
Harnoncourt joined forces with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle to stage a series of
Monteverdi operas at the Zurich Opera House. This universally acclaimed
cycle contributed to a renaissance of Monteverdi's music and set standards
for early Baroque performance practice. He later began to turn his
attention more and more to the music of Mozart, whom he considers "the most
romantic of all composers". Harnoncourt did not make his official debut at
the Salzburg Festival until 1992. He has been conducting there regularly
since then and is a sought-after guest conductor of such reputable
ensembles as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Concertgebouw
Orchestra of Amsterdam and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Title: Bach, Johannespassion (St John Passion), BWV 245
Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Soloist: Kurt Equiluz, Robert Holl, Thomas Moser, Anton Scharinger, Soloists of the Tölzer Sängerknaben
Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien
Chorus: Tölzer Sängerknaben
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Concert
Length: 114 minutes
Cat.No.: A05004639
Gallery         DVD