St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) by Johann Sebastian Bach
It is the longest and most elaborate of all works by J.S. Bach and represents the culmination of his sacred music and of Baroque sacred music as a whole.
The St. Matthew Passion is divided into two parts, and its performance takes somewhat less than three hours. The first part concerns Jesus Christ’s betrayal, the Last Supper, and his prayers and arrest in Gethsemane. The second part presents the rest of the biblical story, including the Crucifixion, death, and burial of Christ. Throughout the work, there is more music for the four soloists—soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—than for the chorus. Often the chorus is called upon to present Bach’s new settings of existing chorales. Most prominent of those is the chorus “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” (“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”), which stands as 54th of the 68 sections.
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