Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Passion According to Saint John
by Johann Sebastian Bach

English Baroque Soloists & Monteverdi Choir
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Mark Padmore, tenor, Evangelist; Peter Harvey, bass, Christus; Katherine Fuge, soprano; Robin Blaze, counter-tenor; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Jeremy Budd, tenor; 
Matthew Brook bass


  1. Possibly the most glorious "Easter" music composition ever!

    I'm particularly drawn to the one because I had the privilege in singing in the chorus under the baton of Norman Scribner (Choral Arts Society of Washington).

  2. While appreciating Classical music having played it for many years (1st trumpet) Bach was not a favorite. Having said this the phenomenal talent and discipline that was Bach's is undeniable.

  3. Well, FT, you've proved once again that you can put the food in the table, but you can't get anyone to eat it, even though everything's been beautifully prepared, and elegantly served on a table set with the finest china, silver, crystal and linen. Not being particularly musical like you are, I can't add much intelligent support, but I appreciate the care and attention to fine detail you put into these things, and wonder why so few take advantage of these great feasts you prepare so generously.

    Lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink, I suppose. Happy Easter from this old agnostic who likes your sincerity, even if she can't share your faith.

    -------> Katharine Heartburn

  4. Why thank you, Katharine. Your kind words warm my heart. Happy Easter to you!

    Scripture tells us "Do not weary in well doing."

    I believe it's most important to do whatever we can to "brighten the corner where we are."

    No one I know of has ever shed more light on the meaning and significance of the Gospels than J.S. Bach, but even he was not particularly appreciated in his time, and certainly received meager earthly rewards for his miraculous achievements, but he never let anything -- or anyone -- stop him. And look what he left behind, which I understand is only part of his immense output.

    Fortunately, there have always been a small-but-sgnificant number -- like this great ensemble led by John Eliot Gardiner -- who understand Bach's greatness and are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to preserve it and infuse it with new life in each generation.

    I may be part of a small minority, but magnificent recordings like this reassure me that I am not alone, and for that I am most thankful.

  5. FT,
    In certain circles, the minority you mentioned = quite a few people.

    Overall, our culture has declined in so many horrible ways. Nevertheless, exquisite music and art will somehow survive.

  6. I just wrote this letter to Mark Padmore, the tenor who narrated the Passion. It seems appropriate to share it here:

    Dear, Mr. Padmore,

    I listened yesterday to your performance in the Saint John Passion at the Albert Hall under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner with even more interest than I'd anticipated. The entire event was spellbinding -- penetrating, meaningful, beautifully understated, touching almost beyond belief -- but it was your role as narrator that proved to be the most compelling aspect of it all. Virtually every syllable you sang was so focused on the gravity and beauty of the text it nearly broke my heart.

    I am 73 years old, a well-trained pianist, also a parish organist and choir director who served the Church in a minor capacity for nearly forty years. I've been well aware of Bach's greatness all my life having sung in the St, Matthew Passion as a boy of nine at St. James Episcopal Church in New York City, but my awareness of the wonder and profundity of it all was elevated to new heights by your performance. I've long been an admirer of Mr. Gardiner's work, which seems never less than superb.

    I'm glad to have discovered you, however belatedly, and write only to tell you that you have made a devoted fan here in the USA. The benefits of having access to YouTube grow more astonishing every day.

    Most sincerely,



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