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A baroque music drama par excellence

The Aachen Cathedral Choir performs Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion is considered a baroque music drama par excellence. Using the musical means of (Baroque) opera, the composer created a drama whose scenery is intended to play out in the listener’s mind’s eye. The story of the Passion of Jesus Christ is told according to the account by the evangelist Matthew.

At more than 150 minutes long, the St Matthew Passion, conceived for two choirs and two orchestras, is not only Bach’s most extensive work, but also his most heavily scored. The Evangelist’s simple account replaces the action on stage. The work unfolds its impressive stereophonic effect thanks to the double choir and orchestra, in which the choirs often engage in dialogue with each other. The two parts of the setting are framed by large-scale opening and closing choruses. In between, there are contemplative arias that internalise the suffering of Jesus. Between the recitatives, choruses and arias are the chorales, which refer to the dramatic climaxes of the plot.

The St Matthew Passion will be performed in Aachen Cathedral on Sunday, 17 March at 5 pm. The performers are Markus Schäfer, Evangelist; Timothy Sharp, Christ’s Words; Judith Hilgers, soprano; Elisabeth Stützer, alto; Milos Bulajic, tenor; Thomas Bonni, bass; the baroque ensemble “Concert Royal Köln” on period instruments and the Aachen Cathedral Choir. The concert will be conducted by cathedral conductor Berthold Botzet.

Tickets between 8 and 18 euros are available here