300 Years of Bach’s St. John Passion

By | March 30, 2024

A blessed Holy Saturday to all!

I remember 39 years ago in 1985 when the world celebrated the 300th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This year we celebrate the 300th anniversary of Bach’s St. John Passion. It was first performed on April 7, 1724 at the Good Friday services at the St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany. It was revised and performed several times during Bach’s lifetime and is still widely performed today. The libretto consists of chapters 18-19 from the Gospel of John along with special choruses, arias, and chorales that provide devotional commentary on the suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth.

Below are some links and videos of performances of the St. John Passion for your devotional use.

Below is a video of the famous chorus “Ruht wohl” (“Rest Well”) paired with Bach’s original score. This chorus is sung after Jesus is placed in the tomb.

Movement 39 – Rest Well

The work concludes with the prayer “Lord, Let at Last Thine Angels Come,” the final stanza of the great hymn “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.”

Movement 40 – Lord, Let At Last Thine Angels Come

There are a great many recordings and videos of the St. John Passion. I’m sure a great many more will be made in the next 300 years.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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