Budapest Festival Orchestra, National Concert Hall Budapest, 25 March


Budapest Festival Orchestra, National Concert Hall Budapest, 25 March
One of two surviving Bach passions, the Saint Matthew Passion, which can be considered the zenith of Protestant church music, is often performed today as a purely musical piece, even though it really is an example of applied music at its best, or as Iván Fischer describes it, "a ritual with spiritual content.”

When it was first presented on Good Friday 1727, the work was paused between its two parts for a sermon of roughly one hour in length.

The Gospel excerpts in the piece, the musical symbols that were well understood by the audience of the time, and the key words linking the biblical quotations to Christian Picander's verses and the texts of the chorales at several points all indicate that this passion is much more about teaching than it is simply about music. Teaching about compassion and empathy.

Fischer augmented this original thinking with his own ideas in a production that has already been presented with great success in Amsterdam. Replacing the scenes omitted from the Saint Matthew Passion will be interludes of classical music, and even folk sounds, jazz, choral works and video clips that in terms of their content intersect with Bach's messages.

It's the same gist, but with more victims and several stories of suffering incorporated into a single evening: this is the essence of Iván Fischer's constantly shifting concept, which is strictly tuned to the present.

Bach's music resumes after each interlude. Together with the orchestra, the choir, divided into two parts will create an amazing stereophonic sound, sensitively depicting the exclamations and responses between the crowds.

The narrative, which follows the Gospel of Matthew, breaks off several times in order to project an emotional feeling in the form of arias. In this intense, dramatic and often passionate music, Bach used many word-painting techniques, both vocal and instrumental.
Place: National Concert Hall Budapest
Address: 1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell utca 1.
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