Johann Sebastian Bach - St. John’s Passion (Label: Deutsche Grammophon)

Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)
Karl Richter (Conductor)
Munich Bach Orchestra (Orchestra)
Münchner Bach-Choir (Orchestra)
Evelyn Lear (Performer)
Ernst Haefliger (Performer)
Hermann Prey (Performer)
Keith Eugene (Performerr)

Bach had composed St. John’s Passion during one of the winters when he worked in Leipzig. This was composed for the Good Friday Vespers service of 1724. Bach had made several revisions to his St. John Passion before producing a final version in the 1740s.


The St. John’s Passion is much shorter than St. Matthew Passion in length, but almost similar in terms of structure. This work is made up of recitatives, choruses, and arias. A character named "Evangelist" tells the details of the story in recitative; arias typically express the feelings of individual characters; and the choruses provide emotional and spiritual reflection on the current scenes. Though this composition is designed for Christianity worshipping, it is so marvellously composed that it is equally enjoyable on a non-religious level.

The eloquent voices of the Munich Bach Choir, perfectly blended with the skilful Munich Bach Orchestra, had glorified this composition with an unusual and authentic sparks. Karl Richter, the conductor said to be the expert of Bach and with profound understanding of this work, had walked his audiences through this sacred drama, with an insightful interpretation that is so spiritually uplifting. I had always been especially in love with the closing chorale, and even much so with Richter’s rendition.

Together with his wonderful team of musicians, Richter had effortlessly yet precisely demonstrated a conviction of colours, wonders, tensions and the beauty of this Passion. This 2 CD recording by Deutsche Grammophon is definitely a remarkable journey of faith.

~Written by Boon Sin Ler

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