On Good Friday, 2 April 2021, watch John Eliot Gardiner leading the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists’ new production of Bach’s St John Passion from Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre which will be live streamed on DG Stage at 3pm (CET). They will be joined by a cast of outstanding soloists for the landmark concert from the historic Sheldonian Theatre, the ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Bach’s St John Passion
Bach’s St John Passion was first performed in Leipzig’s Nikolaikirche on Good Friday 1724. The composer’s setting of St John’s account of Christ’s trial and crucifixion was unprecedented in its power to bring the Passion story to life for the congregation. Martin Luther described the Gospel of John as “unique in loveliness and, in truth, the principal Gospel, far superior to the other three and much to be preferred.” Bach responded to the text with music which is by turns evocative, stirring, exultant and profoundly moving.
“It continues to move listeners of all faiths and none”
“I look forward to this performance for DG Stage of Bach’s St John Passion,” said John Eliot Gardiner. “I recorded the piece for the first time for Archiv Produktion back in 1986 and it remains truly special to me. Bach conceived the piece as much as an act of worship as a work of religious art. Almost 300 years after it was heard for the first time, it continues to move listeners of all faiths and none.”
John Eliot Gardiner noted, “Bach really is the universal composer, whose music can touch anybody, regardless of religious background or nationality. We are encouraged and hopeful that through this concert we can connect to a much wider audience, to whom we can’t be physically close, but who at a distance can be drawn into the rituals of the unfolding of this magical passion.”
This performance on DG Stage marks the start of a renewed partnership between John Eliot Gardiner with his ensembles and Deutsche Grammophon. Their remarkable legacy of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and Archiv Produktion, including music by Bach, Beethoven, Monteverdi, Mozart and Schumann, will be celebrated with the release of a new 104 CD complete edition in May 2021.
“I am delighted that we can share Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s vision of a work so dear to his heart with a global audience via DG Stage,” observed Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “His profound insights into Bach’s music come from a lifetime of study and performing experience. Sir John Eliot Gardiner is undoubtedly one of the artists who have defined Deutsche Grammophon and our Archiv label with his landmark recordings, ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque masters to the Classical and Romantic periods and even encompassing such diverse 20th-century composers as Holst, Lehár and Stravinsky. We feel privileged to reconnect with that rich legacy and present a retrospective of his work as well as a brand-new production with his wonderful longstanding partners the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists.”
Watch John Eliot Gardiner’s production of Bach’s St John Passion from Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre on Good Friday, 2 April 2021, at 3pm (CET) on DG Stage.