The Passio secundum Joannem or St John Passion (German: Johannes-Passion), BWV 245, is a Passion or oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, the older of the surviving Passions by Bach. It was written during Bach's first year as director of church music in Leipzig and was first performed on April 7, 1724, at Good Friday Vespers at the St. Nicholas Church.
The structure of the work falls in two halves, intended to flank a sermon. The anonymous libretto draws on existing works (notably Brockes') and is compiled from recitatives and choruses narrating the Passion of Christ as told in the Gospel of John, ariosos and arias reflecting on the action, and chorales using hymn tunes and texts familiar to a congregation of Bach's contemporaries. Compared with the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion has been described as more extravagant, with an expressive immediacy, at times more unbridled and less "finished".
The work is most often heard today in the 1739–1749 version (never performed during Bach's lifetime). Bach first performed it in 1724 and revised it in 1725, 1732, and 1749, adding several numbers. "O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß", a 1725 replacement for the opening chorus, found a new home in the 1736 St Matthew Passion but several arias from the revisions are found only in the appendices to modern editions.
Performances & Interviews
- Bach's St John Passionhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022nfd6.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022nfd6.jpg2014-07-26T20:00:00.000ZIan Skelly talks to Giles Fraser and James Gilchrist about the core aspects of the theology surrounding Bach's St John Passion.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/b04bw5t8
Bach's St John PassionIan Skelly talks to Giles Fraser and James Gilchrist about the core aspects of the theology surrounding Bach's St John Passion.
- Bach: St John Passionhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w7rw8.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w7rw8.jpg2014-03-26T10:56:00.000ZSimon Heighes provides a personal recommendation from available recordings of Bach's St John Passion.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01w7rxm
Bach: St John PassionSimon Heighes provides a personal recommendation from available recordings of Bach's St John Passion.
- Bach: Herr, unser Herrscher, dessen Ruhm in allen Landen herrlich ist! (excerpt) (2017)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p05cyjll.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p05cyjll.jpg2017-09-19T19:00:00.000ZPerformed by the Dunedin Consort under director John Butt.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p05cyck8
Bach: Herr, unser Herrscher, dessen Ruhm in allen Landen herrlich ist! (excerpt) (2017)Performed by the Dunedin Consort under director John Butt.