• Music Director and Conductor Bernard Labadie leads the orchestra called Les Violons du Roy (The King's Violins), plus La Chapelle de Quebec and vocal soloists in Bach's St. John Passion at Carnegie Hall.
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    Music Director and Conductor Bernard Labadie leads the orchestra called Les Violons du Roy (The King's Violins), plus La Chapelle de Quebec and vocal soloists in Bach's St. John Passion at Carnegie Hall.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Conductor Bernard Labadie says Bach's St. John Passion is the boldest experience in terms of dramatic expression in all of Bach's output, "The harmonies are the furthest he's ever gone, and as close as he got to opera."
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    Conductor Bernard Labadie says Bach's St. John Passion is the boldest experience in terms of dramatic expression in all of Bach's output, "The harmonies are the furthest he's ever gone, and as close as he got to opera."
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Tenor Ian Bostridge (left) sings the role of the evangelist, a kind of "reporter on the scene" telling the story of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He's joined by Bass-Baritone Neal Davies (center, as Jesus) and Bass-Baritone Hanno Muller-Brachmann.
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    Tenor Ian Bostridge (left) sings the role of the evangelist, a kind of "reporter on the scene" telling the story of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He's joined by Bass-Baritone Neal Davies (center, as Jesus) and Bass-Baritone Hanno Muller-Brachmann.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • A member of the chorus, La Chapelle de Quebec looks at the score of Bach's St. John Passion, which he wrote for Good Friday services in Leipzig, in April of 1724.
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    A member of the chorus, La Chapelle de Quebec looks at the score of Bach's St. John Passion, which he wrote for Good Friday services in Leipzig, in April of 1724.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Bass-Baritone Hanno Muller-Brachmann was one of the soloists. The soloists play various characters in the story and sometimes just reflect on events.
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    Bass-Baritone Hanno Muller-Brachmann was one of the soloists. The soloists play various characters in the story and sometimes just reflect on events.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • There is evidence that Bach wrote as many as five passion settings. The only two that have survived complete are the more popular St. Matthew Passion and the St. John Passion.
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    There is evidence that Bach wrote as many as five passion settings. The only two that have survived complete are the more popular St. Matthew Passion and the St. John Passion.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • In Leipzig, Bach set himself the task to write new music each and every week for all the church festivals. He wanted two complete year-long cycles of such music and the St. John Passion was to be the crowing achievement for his 1724 cycle.
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    In Leipzig, Bach set himself the task to write new music each and every week for all the church festivals. He wanted two complete year-long cycles of such music and the St. John Passion was to be the crowing achievement for his 1724 cycle.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • A member of Les Violons du Roy, the orchestra Bernard Labadie founded in 1984.
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    A member of Les Violons du Roy, the orchestra Bernard Labadie founded in 1984.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sang many beautiful Bach moments in the performance, including the aria "Melt my heart, in flodds of tears."
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    Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sang many beautiful Bach moments in the performance, including the aria "Melt my heart, in flodds of tears."
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Music Director and Conductor Bernard Labadie says Bach's music is bold: "With a mixture of 'magma' in the strings. The opening chorus is one of the most electrifying moments in all of 18th century music."
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    Music Director and Conductor Bernard Labadie says Bach's music is bold: "With a mixture of 'magma' in the strings. The opening chorus is one of the most electrifying moments in all of 18th century music."
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • American tenor Nicholas Phan takes a solo.
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    American tenor Nicholas Phan takes a solo.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • The chorus has several jobs, including taking on the role of the crowds. Plus, they sing the chorales which the congregation, in Bach's time, might have joined in on.
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    The chorus has several jobs, including taking on the role of the crowds. Plus, they sing the chorales which the congregation, in Bach's time, might have joined in on.
    Melanie Burford/NPR
  • Conductor Bernard Labadie, the orchestra, chorus and soloists acknowledge the enthusiastic applause for their performance of Bach's St. John Passion.
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    Conductor Bernard Labadie, the orchestra, chorus and soloists acknowledge the enthusiastic applause for their performance of Bach's St. John Passion.
    Melanie Burford/NPR

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Classics in Concert

Bach's 'St. John Passion' At Carnegie HallWQXR-APM

The Canadian ensemble and vocal soloists, including tenor Ian Bostridge, perform Bach's misunderstood St. John Passion.

Editor's note on Oct. 29, 2015: The writing that initially appeared on this page has been removed because some unattributed words or phrases in it matched those in previously published sources. NPR cannot allow such work to stand. But a news organization should not hide its mistakes. We have moved the material that was on this page to another location, highlighted the words and phrases that were at issue and added links to show where the material was originally published. NPR's policy on plagiarism is clear: It is unacceptable.

Performers

  • Les Violons du Roy
  • La Chapelle de Québec
    Bernard Labadie, Music Director and Conductor
  • Ian Bostridge, Tenor
  • Neal Davies, Bass-Baritone
  • Karina Gauvin, Soprano
  • Damien Guillon, Countertenor
  • Nicholas Phan, Tenor
  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bass-Baritone
[+] read more[-] less

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