Choir Concert Features ‘St. John’s Passion’
The Alma College Choirs will perform one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s
great works of religious music, “The Passion According to St. John,”
during a special Good Friday performance.
The dramatic musical presentation of the Passion story will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, April 6 at the Remick Heritage Center. Seating is reserved. Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for students and children 12 and under. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.
The Alma College masterworks performance, directed by Will Nichols, Secrest Professor of Music and Director of Choirs, will use the score Bach prepared for his final performance of the work on Good Friday in 1749 – one year before his death.
“St. John’s Passion” tells of the final hours in the life of Jesus, from his arrest through the crucifixion.
The passion story is narrated by the tenor soloist, called the Evangelist, who sets the scene and propels the narrative with a series of dramatic recitatives, according to Nichols. A baritone soloist sings the words of Jesus, and a bass soloist sings the words of Pontius Pilate.
Daniel Balger, a senior music education major from Okemos, was selected as the baritone soloist to perform the voice of Jesus.
“It’s an amazing honor,” Balger said. “I never expected that by the end of my college career I would be doing something that magnificent, to be singing one of the roles that is normally hired out.”
One of the nation’s finest Bach soloists, Christopher Cock, sings the role of the Evangelist. Cock has sung this role in performances with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Guest soloist Eric Tucker from the Central Michigan University School of Music will sing the bass arias and the words of Pontius Pilate. Alma College visiting voice faculty member Vicki Walker will sing the soprano aria.
Bach wrote “St. John’s Passion” for a performance in his own church in Leipzig in 1724, and he returned to it often throughout the remainder of his life, performing it at least five times, always on Good Friday.
The story begins at Chapter 18 of the Book of John and continues through Chapter 19, ending with the placing of Jesus’ body in the tomb.
Bach’s arrangement is interspersed with common hymns that the people would have known and joined in with when he wrote it, said Balger. The arrangement also includes arias of self-reflection to help people make the connection between the gospel and self-improvement.
Posted: Thu, March 29th, 2007 at 3:03PM