First Concert of the Season 1928-1929
Relayed from the Park Hall
'The Passion of Our Lord'
According to St. Matthew (Bach)
Dorothy Bennett (Soprano), Astra Desmond (Contralto), Tom Pickering (Tenor), Ronald Chivers (Baritone), George Parker (Bass), The Choir of The Cardiff Musical Society
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Leader, Albert Voorsanger
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
Recit, (Tenor), 'And they that laid hold on Jesus'
Choral, 'How falsely doth the world'
Recit, (Tenor and Bass), 'Yea, tho' many false witnesses'
Recit. (Tenor), 'To witness false'
Aria (Tenor), 'Be strong, endure'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass), and Chorus, 'And the High Priest'
Recit. (Tenor) and Chorus, 'Then did they spit'
Choral, 'O Lord, who dares to smite Thee'
Recit. (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass) and Chorus, 'How Peter sat without'
Recit. (Tenor), 'Then began he to curse'
Aria (Alto), 'Have mercy, Lord, on me'
Choral, 'Lamb of God, I fall'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass) and Chorus, 'When the morning was come'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass), 'And he cast down the pieces'
Aria (Bass), 'Give me back my Lord'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass), 'And Jesus stood before the Governor'
Choral, 'Commit thy way to Jesus'
Recit. (Soprano, Tenor, and Bass) and Chorus, 'Now at that feast'
Choral, 'O wond'rous Love'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass), 'And the Governor said'
Recit. (Soprano), 'To all men Jesus good hath done'
Aria (Soprano), 'For love my Saviour now is dying'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass) and Chorus, 'But they cried out'
Recit. (Alto), 'O Gracious God'
Recit. (Tenor) and Chorus. 'Then the soldiers of the Governor'
Choral, 'O Sacred Head surrounded'
Recit. (Tenor), 'And after that they had mocked Him'
Recit. (Bass), 'In truth, to bear the Cross'
Aria (Bass) 'Come, healing Cross'
Recit. (Tenor) and Chorus, 'And when they were come unto a place'
Hecit. (Tenor), 'The thieves also which were crucified'
Recit. (Alto), 'Ah, Golgotha!'
Solo (Alto) and Chorus, 'See the Saviour's outstretched hands'
Recit. (Tenor and Bass) and Chorus, 'Now from the sixth hour'
Choral, 'Be near me, Lord, when dying'
Recit. (Tenor) and Chorus, 'And, behold, the veil of the temple'
Soli and Chorus, 'And now the Lord to rest is laid'
Chorus, 'In tears of grief'
Iy is one measure of Bach's supreme greatness that since his day no man has ventured to compose Passion music in anything like the manner or scale of his splendid works. Oratorios, sacred Cantatas, and the like, have come and-in many cases, fortunately-gone for ever, but the 'Matthew Passion' remains unchallenged as the greatest expression, in devotional music, of the story of the Passion. The form in vogue in Bach's own day was a strange mixture of many styles, sacred and secular, a sort of hybrid of church music and opera. He had, perforce, to adapt himself to the mode of his times; that he did so with such splendid effect is probably due as much to his own intensely devout regard for the Church and its observances as to his musicianship.
The form of the 'Matthew Passion' is impressive by its very simplicity. The story is set before us in a series of dramatic episodes, almost pictorial in their directness. At salient points, the narrative is interrupted, and a meditation on the scene which has just been recounted is set before us, either in an aria or in a choral verse. The choice of these latter was made by Bach himself, and indeed the whole text of the Passion was made under his supervision. There are in all some twenty-four scenes, of which roughly half are rounded off by chorales and the other half by arias. The situations themselves are vividly set before the hearer, and the meditations which follow on them, though as a rule simple, sometimes almost childlike in their simplicity, are among the most profoundly devotional things in the whole realm of church music.
The actual telling of the story is in the hands of a narrator-called the Evangelist-a tenor soloist, in a series of recitatives with orchestral and organ accompaniment. The utterances of our Lord Himself, though also recitatives, are more nearly in arioso form - with a more flowing, melodious line-and are meant to be accompanied by the strings alone. By that Bach no doubt had in mind the more ethereal-tone quality which belongs to the strings than to the full orchestra and organ. The declamation throughout is simple, but words or phrases which Bach meant to be stressed are brought out in a very striking way in the vocal line, often helped by the figure used in the accompaniment.
Only the last part of the Passion is to be sung this evening, dealing with Jesus' betrayal and death.
In Bach's day the Passions were sung at vespers on Good Friday, sometimes in his own church of St. Thomas, and sometimes in St. Nicholas' Church, for the music of which he was also responsible.
The Choir of The Cardiff Musical
National Orchestra of
Orchestra conducted by: