This March and April we’ll perform and record JS Bach’s St John Passion. Our Share our Passion blog gives insights into the work and the performance.
Our viola d’amore blog post from Week 3 inspired AAM violinist and viola d’amore player Bojan Čičić to share his view on why he believes the d’amore lends special importance to the authenticity of Bach’s masterpiece:
“Listening to this instrument reminds me of how much slower and quieter the tempo of life used to be in the 18th century. One has to lower the heart beat and forget about the outside world for a moment to appreciate the subtle sound world this instrument offers in the St John Passion.”
This week two more artists in our performance of St John Passion, soprano soloist Elizabeth Watts and Susanna Spicer, member of the Choir of the AAM, share why they are thrilled to be a part of this production.
“I am simply nuts about Bach. His music never fails to inspire surprise or move me. I have never, in fact, sung a St John Passion on Good Friday, the very day it was intended for, so I am excited to be both performing and recording the work at this time of year and particularly with the heart-felt and insightful playing of the AAM.”
‘The St John Passion is one of the stand-out works in the repertoire. Being involved in a project based around it is therefore always something to be relished, and when a recording is involved as well, there is clearly an even more intense experience to come. It is also particularly potent when a John or Matthew actually takes place at Easter. One of my other regular professional haunts is Brompton Oratory, where Holy Week is taken very seriously indeed and the music builds up the tension of the Crucifixion through daily renderings of Victoria’s magnificent Tenebrae Responses. By Good Friday even the most atheistic of us can’t help getting caught up in the power of the Passion story and I am particularly thrilled that the Barbican concert of the AAM’s St John is happening that very afternoon. I therefore hope that my experiences at the Oratory will both inform and be informed by the overlap with the AAM project.
“Bach is also the Master of course, and there is nothing like a good immersion in one of his largest works for one to get back to the real nub of where the best music is to be found. I also love singing for Richard [Egarr], because he really does allow one to SING. Nothing namby-pamby about his interpretations, and boy, can that be refreshing in these days of smaller and smaller renditions. It’s gutsy stuff, and I’m sure Richard will bring that out in spades.
“I suppose my only concerns are that it is inevitably an incredibly intense period vocally, and there’s always a danger of becoming vulnerable to viruses when the workload is quite so concentrated, so I will be crossing my fingers that we all stay well. The other is that – dear St Jude’s (the recording studio) not only gets pretty cold if the wind chooses to pick up speed, but creaks and groans with every puff. So if you are reading this, please pray for warm, STILL days for Bank Holiday week (and for a southern flight path into LHR)…”
Share our Passion
Join us at Barbican Hall, London, at 3pm on Good Friday, 29 March 2013 for a live performance. Click here to find out more.
Give just £10 to help make our recording possible. Click here to find out more.