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February 4th, 2008 - Bach in Leeds
Bach in Leeds

At 3pm on Sunday, 17th February, Leeds Cathedral Choir will perform J.S.Bach's St John Passion in Leeds Cathedral under the direction of Dr Christopher Johns, accompanied by members of the LUUMS (Leeds University Union Musical Society) Orchestra. Admission is free of charge, with a retiring collection being taken at the end.

J.S. Bach's St John Passion has moved the hearts of the faithful ever since its first performance in 1724. As will be familiar from readings of the Passion Story in the liturgies of Holy Week, the parts of the Evangelist, Our Lord, Pilate and other individuals are sung by soloists. The chorus takes on the role of the crowd, calling for the release of the murderer Barrabas, mocking our Saviour as the crown of thorns is placed on His head and ultimately screaming for His barbaric execution.

Unlike conventional readings of the Passion Story, however, Bach's St John Passion includes settings of texts not taken from the Holy Scriptures which meditate on and try to make sense of what is happening. As Christ carries His cross to the hill where He is to die, a bass soloist entreats us to flee our torments and go also to Golgotha, where, by faith, we may find release; and as our Lord breathes his last, a solo soprano "pours out her heart in floods of tears" at the death of "my Jesus".

The response of the faithful to both the Passion Story and the reflective arias makes up the third part of the compostion and takes the form of chorales (German hymns) sung to tunes which, for the most part, will also be familiar to an English audience. And so it is that the piece closes with a hymn contemplating our own mortality and the wonder of the gift of eternal life.

"O Lord, let your dear angels carry my soul to Abraham's bosom at the end of my days; Let my body sleep in peace, free from pain and torment, until the day of judgement.Then wake me from death, so that my eyes may see Thee in great joy, Thou Son of God, My Saviour on the throne of grace! Lord Jesus Christ, hear my cry. I will praise you for all eternity!"

For further information, please contact the Music Office on 0113 244 8634 Monday to Thursday between 10.30am and 3.30pm during term time.


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To join the choirs and for all other
enquiries please contact:

Music Administrator
Leeds Cathedral
Great George Street
Leeds LS2 8BE

Tel: 0113 244 8634
Email: click here