Thursday 11 April 2013

St. John Passion at Norwich Cathedral

On the evening of Saturday 23rd March 2013 I attended the Norwich Cathedral Choir and Norwich Baroque's performance of J S Bach's St. John Passion at Norwich Cathedral. The role of the Evangelist was played by young tenor, William Blake who is one the UK’s rising singing stars. The role of Christ was sung by Bradley Travis, leading bass soloist from the Royal College of Music. The distinguished soprano, Amy Carson was joined by other soloists from within the Norwich Cathedral Choir.

Bach wrote his Passion according to St John for the service of Vespers at St Nicholas’ Church in Leipzig in 1724. It is without doubt one of the most dramatic representations of the Passion story, the striking narration and crowd scenes interspersed with reflective arias and chorales that are amongst the most beautiful Bach ever composed. And when from death you waken me, let my unworthy eyes then see with tears of joy, my soul's reward; my Saviour and my risen Lord! O Jesus Christ, give ear to me, and let me praise Thee endlessly.

This performance directed by Norwich Cathedral's Master of Music Ashley Grote was very inspirational and proved to be a special night. There was a large crowd in attendance as we were moved to reflect on the sufferings of Christ and his joyful resurrection. The concert took place on the eve of Palm Sunday and it marked the start of the Cathedral’s observance of Holy Week and Easter. J S Bach's St. John Passion is a sacred oratorio masterpiece and was performed wonderfully by the Norwich Cathedral Choir, Norwich Baroque and all the soloists.

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