However, the Marcan trial account Mk does not exculpate Pilate as, for example, Mt does. It is necessary to say, that several Jewish sources did not argue the fact that Jewish authorities did take part in activity against Jesus. Baraita b.
St. Matthew Passion
San 43a, although very apologetic in orientation, does not say explicitly about one who was responsible for the execution of Jesus, but from the context it is quite clear that author of the passage did not challenge traditional vision of Jewish involvement at least in the arrest of Jesus In this text, the Romans are not mentioned at all. At the same time, while Marcan Pilate does not demonstrate either hostile or favourable attitude to Jesus, the later Gospels and John has the tendency to aggravate the guilt of the Jews.
Nor Pilate is ready to believe in what was said about Jesus The hearing of Pilate is the receiving of a new charge, but the effect of the announcement of the real accusation is completely different from the first instance in Jn The Evangelist says that Pilate became more afraid. The comparative form looks awkward since the reader is not reported that Pilate has been already afraid, moreover there is no any conjunction that creates the comparative sense either.
The instance of Jn is closer to the discussed sentence, since there is no comparative conjunction but the context itself helps to solve the problem Some Since Mk , the reader knows about the plot against Jesus. Jesus was totally in his power cf. Jn and we do not know about any danger that, for example, his disciples could provoke However, the form still can be simply understood that Pilate was very afraid rather than more Some commentators see the similarities between dialog of Jesus and Pilate in John and interrogation of Apollonius from Tyana Vita Apol. The Old Testament also demonstrates such an attitude to the man of God 2 King , However, as we have seen above, Pilate does not prove to be a religious sensitive person.
If Jesus took for himself the title of the emperor, Pilate had to be more careful with the defendant. Probably, the best idea not to distinguish strictly between the solutions but to see them interwoven, that what is perhaps was intended by Evangelist. The political and religious sphere were not so distinct as the contemporary eye would like to see.
The Gospel writers lived in the world where the political charge would become religious and otherwise. The next scene of dialog between Pilate and Jesus is parallel to Jn but is shorter. Except Jn c, the scene seems to be mostly of Johannine composition. In Jn Pilate enters inside, but there is no any word about how Jesus got into the praetorium. The discrepancy could be explained by the redactional work. The later redactor would like to rearrange the material in the form of chiastic scheme, but fails to follow his own structure.
The occurrence of the praetorium in two versions Mark and John confirms that the notion of the place of scourging was in the primitive tradition. They do not use this word at all. This passage does not help much because the book of Acts mentions the place in Caesarea. However, in Jerusalem there are two places, which can be the candidates for the praetorium: Antonia fortress and Palace of Herod Since 4th century A. The contemporary Via Dolorosa favours Antonia, but we must consider this fact as a pious Christian tradition, since Jerusalem has changed during the centuries Josephus, in Bell.
Thus, it is quite obvious that the Roman prefect would reside in the luxury palace rather than the military fortress. The meaning depends on either we take it as a theological question, or as a part of the official cognitio. The first interpretation reflects Johannine theology of heavenly origin of Jesus. The reader knows already that Jesus is from above, from heaven, i.
Apollonius was accused of the offence of Nero and then brought to prison. When the prosecutor has failed to demonstrate the charges, the Roman governor Tigellinus, who had previously demonstrated superstitious fear cf. For the answer, Apollonius says the name of his father and the name of his country However, the literal relationships of John and Flavius Philostratus could hardly be established.
What is important, is that in both accounts we see the formal structure of interrogation by the official judge. This brings us to the second interpretation. Lucan version as we have seen, is connected by some motifs to Johannine one speaks indirectly that Pilate got knowledge about the origin of Jesus The examples taken from other trials might give a hint to the understanding of the passage. From this passage we see that the question of the origin was a necessary part of the procedure.
Thus, behind this question should be a historical background of Roman cognitio. Now it seems, that Pilate starts the procedure once again John reinterprets the tradition by adding to it the important theological connotations. But if, as we said above, the second trial has begun, Pilate had to follow the procedure. The Johannine account might give another explanation. One explanation could be physical state of Jesus. Jesus stands before Pilate after being scourged by the brutal torture and the physical weariness makes him unable to respond the questions of the prefect.
However, Jn stated that Jesus went out by himself and then he returns to speech in Jn However, the silence of Jesus is not a unique precedent. In the Jewish War Bell. Certain Jesus son of Ananus began to shout the woes against Jerusalem four years before its actual destruction Bell. The man was brought to the procurator Albinus who firstly whipped him and then asked the question of his provenience and when the defendant refused to answer, the governor dismissed him as a madman Bell.
Two elements of Johannine account — question about the origin and the silence of the defendant — are presented also there. Thus, generally Johannine trial account does not deviate so much from the official trial procedure described in the ancient texts. It is likely that this scene was well-known in the primitive Christianity, so John could just omit it.
If the allusion to the stoic behaviour or the Isaian text was intended in the scene, it might come from the composer of the pre-Gospel Passion narrative. However, the scene is very particular and does not have so many parallels in other literature, thus it should not be understood only as a fiction and had to have the historical core. Nevertheless, he would not like to condemn Jesus on the base of an unjustified charge But the silence once interpreted as a failure to respond the charges would hasten the conviction But for John every charge against Jesus is ironically true Thus Jesus does not defend himself but rather accepts the charge.
This is how John interprets the traditional material fitting it in his theological frames. Pilate reminds of his rights as the holder of imperium. In this context the most plausible meaning is the politically legitimate authority over the fate of Jesus Pilate simply tries to encourage Jesus to defend himself, because Pilate, as a Roman judge, had to follow the procedure Ironically, Pilate is right in his words about the authority However, Pilate hesitated to make a decision in order to avoid the responsibility because of the fear for his position.
Pilate asks Jesus whether he pretends to be the earthly king, that is only way he, as a governor, could understand the term Jn , In Jn , Jesus makes a statement of the secondary role of Pilate in the process. The phrase does not speak about the administrative power per se, but how is the authority of Pilate is related to Jesus. He reminds the prefect that his position is not the source of the authority Thus Pilate, plays only a passive role This idea has already found its way in early Christian tradition cf.
Act If the authority was not given to him from above, Pilate could not do anything against Jesus cf. The same valid for the first-century Christian reader of the Gospel of John. On the one hand, the dialogs between Jesus and Pilate reflects an apology of the first followers of the Jewish Messiah in front of the Roman officials. They tried to show that neither Jesus, nor his followers were a threat to Pax Romana With the death of their King, the Christians are not defeated by the Roman power, but rather God has used it in order to perform his divine plan of salvation of the entire humanity, and the Romans as well.
This makes an emphasis on the fact that everything that happens to Jesus is appointed by God. The character of the betrayer is quite a complicated issue. These passages might be addressed to every disciple and the figure of Judas is used as a type. However, Bernard points out correctly that Judas disappears from the narrative after Jn Thus Judas could hardly be the one who is intended here.
The high priest Caiaphas as a representative of Sanhedrin could be considered another candidate for this position Caiaphas was a person who stayed behind the plot against and the decision to execute The similar ideas are shared by 1 Pet , Heb John, , thus it should be understood as the responsibility for the act of betrayal. It means that John refers to one who betrays him, so in the context it must be Judas. However, Barrett supposes, that Judas is intended here.
But we do not see any singular character as a representative of the Jews in the episode Jn a. The accusers are always a collective character. Hence the collective character is more probable. The whole group of the Jews are those who have accused Jesus and who have really brought him to Pilate John could not reject the tradition that Jesus was crucified by Pilate, i.
But the attitude of the Johannine community to the Synagogue after their expulsion found its way into the apologetic tendency of exculpating the Romans or at least not to emphasize their responsibility so much as the responsibility of Jews, as in 1 Thess 15, where the role of Romans is not mentioned at all. Thus, for John, Pilate is guilty but not in the same way as the Jews. However, if we look back to Jn , the comparative form of the adjective might be seen as underlining greatness but without comparison.
Jn b. Considering the previous statement about the betrayer, we see how John underlines the responsibility of the Jews for the death of Jesus. Jn has only one point of the textual variations. The changing of the wording was intended to harmonize the verse with other passages like Jn , ,12b for the sake of conformity of style.
According to our scheme, the whole scene Jn a is paralleled to the Barabbas scene Jn b If the parallelism is intended by John, the usage of such verb is logical. The specification of the place and the name indicates that this information, reported by the Evangelist, is very important.
In theMatthean account, Pilate remains on the seat through the whole trial, while in the Johannine he sits on it in order to pronounce the decision. Ex Jesus is crucified in the day of the Passover, hence he amplifies the Synoptic account The sixth hour might look a bit awkward. According to the indication of time in Jn , Jesus was delivered to Pilate around 6 a. Mk and Mt If the final scene of the interrogation happens at noon, it means that the whole trial lasted for six hours.
Luke totally omits the indication of time, placing the Sanhedrin interrogation at the beginning of the day Lk In the Marcan account, the Crucifixion starts at 9 a. According to our view, the chronological frames of the Marcan account do not permit to confirm that the crowd has already known about the night process. The Johannine account omits the crowd as a distinct character.
However, the indication time should not be understood with precision since both account Marcan and Johannine have the theological grounds for their timetable. The most important is that the indication of the hour was in the pre-Gospel source, which was used both by John and Mark. In the Passions context, this verb is found only in Lk that indicates the same tradition shared by Luke and John, just as in case of Jn and Lk The formulation with the pronoun is found in Mk ,14 and Lk , but the second shouting is absent in Luke, thus Cf.
The same is found in b. John, III, Act , But the presence of the verb in the narratives might indicate its existence in the pre-Gospel traditions used by Luke and John. The wording of John is identical with Mk , aorist imperative that probably points to the old tradition preserved by Mark and John. This idea is emphasized much more than in Synoptic accounts. As in Mt , Jn ef reports the final statement of the accusers. In both accounts the Jews prove themselves responsible for the betrayal and the blood of their Messiah. Every time when Pilate goes out to the Jews, he pronounces his judgment in favour of Jesus.
In Jn he adds another element to this motif in order to complete it. When Jesus was saying Pilate about the authority above all the created world, the Jews are going to remind the prefect who is the real authority for him in the moment. The remembrance of the Roman emperor, who was Tiberius at that time, makes Pilate come back to earth and see what is really happening. Thus John adds this shout of the Jews in order to create the image of weakness of Pilate.
However, we find this term in the Greek Jewish literature as well. There are enough arguments for friendship of Pilate and Sejanus, hence he could bare this official title In the scene Jn , Jesus has indirectly acknowledged that he is a king Jn ,37d , although Jesus underlines that his kingdom is not from or of this world, for this world is the reality of his opponents Jn and has its own leader Jn , It is a claim for being not only a local king of the Jewish nation, but a claim to what was attributed to the kingship of the Caesar, i.
However, it was not enough for Pilate to confirm the charge. When this does not work, they try to blackmail Pilate. The motif of a treason was already expressed in the title of Jesus, but now the words, even if they indirectly speak about the defendant, are addressed to Pilate. We have evidence from that historical period that Tiberius was very sensitive to the charges of treason Tacitus, Ann. Thus Pilate appeared in the situation with only one solution. The words made their effect and now Pilate comes to pronounce the final judgement about the case.
He makes a solemn act by bringing Jesus out and sitting on the tribunal Jn However, if this act has such an importance, why the Evangelist did not mention any action of such kind before the scene of Scourging? As we have stated above, the scourging is a punishment itself for the claim of kingship. If Pilate has already sentenced Jesus to any punishment, he did act as a judge. However, De La Potterie proposes that, even if in majority of examples either in the New Testament or LXX the verb is used with the intransitive sense, the transitive use is well-attested, as the comparison we can look at Act and Eph , 1 Cor , 2 Thess Regarding Jn , there are two examples from early Christian tradition that consider the verb transitive: 1 St.
Justin the Martyr, 1 Apol. Justin the Philosopher and Gospel of Peter adopt a different understanding? Neither of this verbs are finite. Hence, according to this view, the best choice is to consider the verb to have the transitive meaning. Foster proves that the image of the Messiah who executes judicial functions was very common to the Second Temple literature, but the question is whether John intended to describe Jesus as a judge.
The idea reflected in both writings, might be developed under the meditation on the prophetic books. Justin almost obviously alludes to Is that is seen already in 1 Apol. Both Justin and the author of Gospel of Peter could know John, and interpret it in the way theological that seemed plausible to them. As well, in both accounts the Jews are those who do the mockery and this episode is not a part of the trial account. Brown admits, that the transitive meaning of the verb suits very well in framework of Johannine theology In some discourses, Jesus speaks about the judgment he is performing, especially in chapter 5.
Jn says clearly that the Father has given the right to judge to His Son. The judgment comes to the world with the figure of the Son: he is doing the works of the Father, as Jesus confirms himself Jn Nevertheless, in the action of judgment the accent should stay not on the performing the judgment but rather on being a judge. This leads to connection between the scenes. BLUNT ed. It is against Beasley-Murray John, who thinks that the evangelist did not intend to demonstrate Jesus as a judge but rather just as a king.
Gen 18,25; 1 Sam 7,; Ps 72,4. Jn might leave some ambiguity, for we are not sure whether Jesus sits down or he seats the crowd in order to teach them Moreover, the secondary character of the pericope Jn could lead to dismissal of this passage as an example of the Johannine style The easiest explanation is that this is a characteristic feature of Johannine style. However, according to our counting, we have only 4 instances of transitive usage against about 40 instances of the intransitive one Josephus could also use different grammatical forms of the verb.
At the end of the episode of the Roman standards Bell. In case of this statement we are sure that Josephus describes the official verdict. Mt , even if using the verb in different form, speaks about Pilate and not Jesus. The very important argument against the transitive meaning is the evaluation of the historicity of the scene. Schnackenburg wonders, would John really depart so far from the historical tradition into the pure symbolism, even contradicting the juridical practice of his time? If the double entendre was intended, the reader had to decide whether he would like to see Jesus or Pilate on the judgment seat, which is incomprehensible for such an important moment of the narration.
Mt , where Jesus is presented sitting while he teaches. But we shall ask the logical question: if Pilate was so concerned about the official procedure why did he allow the scourging and the derision of the defendant who has not been yet convicted? This is quite a liberal attitude to the official Roman juridical procedure. John demonstrates much attention to giving the historical value to his narration also by mentioning place and time of the trial elsewhere in the Passion account.
Hence, it would be very strange, if in such an important and solemn moment of the story, he would decide to abandon the historical credibility in order to present only theological idea. This may lead to conclusion that Pilate, actually, did not place Jesus on the tribunal but rather made him stand on that platform.
Thus, the context speaks about the judgment seat.
Josephus uses this word for the stoned or mosaic pavement of the Temple Bell. We do not see that Gabbatha was intended as a translation of the Lithostrotos John was writing in Greek, so logically the translation should be given after the foreign word as in Jn Bernard Cf. We have to conclude, that the exact meaning as well as the place of would remain uncertain. However, the indication of the name of the place is not to be neglected as unhistorical just because of discrepancy of the Greek and Aramaic title for the tribunal. The historicity of many places mentioned in the Fourth Gospel was confirmed by the modern archaeological research The fact that the places called by name in the Gospel of John existed and were not invented by the Evangelist, makes us think that the reference to the Gabbatha is historically grounded.
Bauer underlines that although the Synoptic accounts undermine that the day of Jesus crucifixion was the Passover day 15 Nissan , there are elements that contradict it already in Marcan account However, he underlines the symbolic character of John, thus crucified Christ is the sacrificed Passover Lamb Jn , Barrett claims, that both Mark and John had the reasons to insert the hour.
Mark wished to correlate the crucifixion with darkness at noon Mk and John wished to make an allusion to Passover lamb, or just to fulfil Jn about the hour of Jesus However, the Passover motif is not very developed in the trial account. According to Ex the Passover lamb had to be slaughtered at twilight Johannine sixth hour in any case cannot be indication of the evening. Thus, the theological intention should not be overestimated. Johannine Jesus is the King, he is the victor of the trial, so the Paschal motif is not so evident.
Program - Bach. St. Matthew Passion by Colorado Symphony - Issuu
John wants to be historical, he says that everything that happened to Jesus is true, that the disciples might be convinced in the truth cf. In Lk the women prepared spices and perfume. All these deeds were forbidden in the Sabbath. It was proposed that John counted hours according to Roman system starting from the midnight, but it is not confirmed by other instances in Fourth Gospel cf.
The Johannine chronology is supported by an important but not always authoritative testimony such as, b. Even if the account is very late, there could be found some independent traditions that were spread among early Christians and then had come to Jewish circles. Morris claims that either Marcan or Johannine chronology must be interpreted as an approximation. This indication of time would be used to show the morning time The indication of the time is a sign of the importance of the moment.
The sentencing of Jesus is the crucial moment in the trial, that is why John time and place. The mentioning of the day and hour is a claim for the historicity of the account. For him, everything is happening historically. Bernard and Bultmann render this exclamation sarcastic. And that is true, when Pilate pronounce this phrase after two interrogations, it must sound only ironic, because he has already known that Jesus is not a threat But sarcasm of Pilate should not be overestimated.
The previous indication of the place and time was aimed to underline solemnity of the words of Pilate Since he is sitting now on the tribunal, the phrase should be understood as the pronouncement of the guilt.
Now you become the defendant because this man is the King of the Jews and I am not a Jew cf. Pilate provokes the Jews to show their total loyalty to their earthly king or otherwise they will put themselves on the same place as Jesus was brought. They are too impatient to wait for the execution Jn a.
As we have seen, this phrase is Johannine but reflects the tradition of the last question of Pilate. John does not describe Jesus as innocent cf. Mk , since it has been already confirmed, but moves the theme to his royal identity. The former accusers hasten to prove their loyalty Jn It is important that the high priests appear there where the crucifixion is mentioned.
It demonstrates that John again relies on the earlier tradition. This is another example of Johannine irony The similar phrase is found in Hos where the sin of Israel is described as disobedience of the commandment of the Lord. Jn and the King. The chief priests recognize that if the Roman emperor is the real king so he is also a son of God. By introducing Jesus as the King of the Jews, Pilate catches the accusers in a trap that they have created themselves. By appealing to the Torah, the Jews condemn themselves according to their own Law.
In the eyes of the Johannine Christians, the rejection of Jesus and thus acknowledging the authority of Caesar is the rejection of their Jewishness The contrast to Jn is now evident. This statement could not be proven to have historical core. It reflects the experience of the Johannine Christians who after being expelled from the Synagogue Jn , , 16,2 were persecuted by the Jews Jn with the help of the Roman authorities. The mentioning of the chief priests may also speak about criticism of the priestly establishment of the Jerusalem Temple.
But, as acknowledged by the overwhelming majority of the scholars, the Gospel of John was written in the period after the destruction of the Temple, when the priesthood had lost their authority, and such accuse would have little sense, unless John relies on the earlier pre tradition. The Johannine Christians could be in very difficult situation when the diaspora Jews marginalized them as a messianic movement that could bring put in danger the entire Jewish community cf. Now it is enough for Pilate. The case is clear, he and the Jews are innocent but Jesus is guilty for the treason and lese-majesty.
Hence Pilate delivers Jesus to them to be crucified Jn a. John had to borrow the phrase form the source but, as it appears, he was not so much attentive to the details as it happened with Jn It was clearly said that the Jews had no authority to execute the convicted Jn If we take seriously the concerns of the Jewish authorities not to be defiled before the Passover Jn , it means that they could not execute Jesus.
This is confirmed by Synoptic Gospels. Schnackenburg proposes the solution based on the Johannine source, where the condemnation should be before the scourging and thus the soldiers, who performed the flagellation need not to be called by name again But some would see the apologetic intention of exculpating Romans for death of Jesus Since Pilate is sitting on the tribunal, he had to pronounce the death sentence But the most important moment is the apologetic intention of all Evangelists.
They tried not to describe Jesus as the criminal who was officially condemned by the Roman prefect, that is why the clear statement is absent from the accounts. In the first scene Jn a John demonstrates the combination of his sources. In some parts he uses the material from tradition that resembles Marcan and Matthean texts. Sometimes he combines the material similar to Lucan traditions and his own sources. The tone of this scene is solemn and it prepares the reader to the final of the episode. John reflects on the presentation of Jesus as the King of the Jews.
For John, Jesus is triumphing even in his wretched condition. In this scene John introduces the new accusation — Jesus made himself the Son of God. The charge of blasphemy becomes the charge of treason in the Roman eyes. In this scene Jn , John relies mostly on his own traditions.
His aim is parenetic and apologetic. The Evangelist tries to demonstrate that the death of Jesus was predestined by God and the people who are responsible for it play a passive role. At the same time, they bear the full responsibility for their acts. The members of the Johannine community have to follow Jesus example by not opposing the earthly authorities because of the knowledge that their destiny is already designed by God.
Very few details in this scene can help to reconstruct the historical portrait of Jesus. The absence of a clear Old Testament typology in Johannine account proves that the motif of silence was not invented by Mark by reflection on the Scripture but had been known already in the first Christian communities. The last scene Jn a is a culmination of the whole trial. The overlaps with the Synoptic traditions demonstrate that John used the source which were close to them but at the same time they were different even in the small details, such as the indication of the time.
At the same time, John relies on the other traditions that were known in his background, such as indication of the places Lithostrotos and Gabbatha. The scene consists mostly of the dialogs between Pilate and the Jews which have strongly political overtone. This overtone reflects the situation of the Johannine community that lived under the pressure from Roman and Jewish side. John had to demonstrate to Romans that the Messiah of the Christians was not dangerous politically and so are his followers. He relies on the traditions similar to the Synoptic Gospels and uses the traditions that are typical for particular Gospel writers without demonstrating a total dependence on one of them.
Johannine account is theologically coloured where many titles or name have double meanings and hidden senses. At the same time, the trial account in the Fourth Gospel is the most explicit from the juridical point of view and demonstrates many details of how the process against Jesus would happen. Biblical texts. Ancient Works. Grammars and Dictionaries. Der letzte Tag des Jesus von Nazaret. Was wirklich geschah Freiburg A Commentary Philadelphia A commentary on the gospel of John.
A Commentary Peabody II. BOND, H. DODD, C. A Marginal Jew. Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Related Papers. By Sung Uk Lim. By Paul N Anderson. Mark 15, Jesus in front of Pilate. Narrative study of the Drama. By Fiodar Litvinau. Both use lettered subsections in some cases. Bach worked together with his librettist, Christian Friedrich Henrici, known as Picander  who published the text of the libretto of the St Matthew Passion in The Bible text used for Part One is Matthew — Part Two uses Matthew —75 and Matthew — Picander wrote text for recitatives and arias, and for the large scale choral movements that open and close the Passion.
The chorale melodies and their texts would have been known to those attending the services in the St Thomas church. The oldest chorale Bach used in the St Matthew Passion dates from Bach used the hymns in different ways, most are four-part setting, two as the cantus firmus of the two chorale fantasias framing Part I, one as a commenting element in a tenor recitative. In the early version BWV b the chorale No. Many composers wrote musical settings of the Passion in the late 17th century.
Like other Baroque oratorio passions, Bach's setting presents the Biblical text of Matthew 26—27 in a relatively simple way, primarily using recitative , while aria and arioso movements set newly written poetic texts which comment on the various events in the Biblical narrative and present the characters' states of mind in a lyrical, monologue-like manner.
The St Matthew Passion is set for two choirs and two orchestras. Both include two transverse flutes Choir 1 also includes 2 recorders for No. For practical reasons the continuo organ is often shared and played with both orchestras. In many arias a solo instrument or more create a specific mood, such as the central soprano aria No. Two distinctive aspects of Bach's setting spring from his other church endeavors. One is the double-choir format, which stems from his own double-choir motets and those of many other composers with which he routinely started Sunday services.
The other is the extensive use of chorales , which appear in standard four-part settings, as interpolations in arias, and as a cantus firmus in large polyphonic movements. This was sung only in and — and had been played on the organ before. The narration of the Gospel texts is sung by the tenor Evangelist in secco recitative accompanied only by continuo. These are not always sung by all different soloists.
The "character" soloists are also often assigned arias and sing with the choirs, a practice not always followed by modern performances. Two duets are sung by a pair of soloists representing two simultaneous speakers. A number of passages for several speakers, called turba crowd parts, are sung by one of the two choirs or both.
The words of Jesus, also termed Vox Christi voice of Christ , usually receive special treatment. Bach created particularly distinctive accompagnato recitatives in this work: they are accompanied not by continuo alone, but also by the entire string section of the first orchestra using long, sustained notes and "highlighting" certain words, thus creating an effect often referred to as Jesus's "halo". Only his final words , in Aramaic , Eli, Eli lama asabthani?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? In the revision of —, it is also these words the Vox Christi that receive a sustained continuo part. The arias, set to texts by Picander , are interspersed between sections of the Gospel text. They are sung by soloists with a variety of instrumental accompaniments, typical of the oratorio style. The interpolated texts theologically and personally interpret the Gospel texts. Many of them include the listener into the action, such as the chorale No.
The alto aria No. The bass aria No. Jesus is often referred to as "my Jesus". The chorus alternates between participating in the narrative and commenting on it. As is typical of settings of the Passion and originating in its liturgical use on Palm Sunday , there is no mention of the Resurrection in any of these texts apart from indirect allusions at Matthew and and Following the concept of Anselm of Canterbury , the crucifixion is the endpoint and the source of redemption ; the emphasis is on the suffering of Jesus.
The chorus sings, in the final chorale No. The first " O Lamm Gottes " chorale compares Jesus' crucifixion to the ritual sacrifice of an Old Testament lamb, as an offering for sin. Bach's recitatives often set the mood for the particular passages by highlighting emotionally charged words such as "crucify", "kill", or "mourn" with chromatic melodies.
Diminished seventh chords and sudden modulations accompany Jesus's apocalyptic prophecies. In the turba parts, the two choruses sometimes alternate in cori spezzati style e. Other times only one chorus sings chorus I always takes the parts of the disciples or they alternate, for example when "some bystanders" say "He's calling for Elijah", and "others" say "Wait to see if Elijah comes to help him.
In the arias, obbligato instruments are equal partners with the voices, as was customary in late Baroque arias. In " Blute nur ", the line about the serpent is set with a twisting melody. As in other Passion oratorios the backbone of the structure is the narration of the Gospel, in this case chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew in the German translation of the Luther Bible. The Evangelist , a tenor voice, sings the Gospel text in a declamatory style called secco recitative , that is with only a continuo accompaniment. Direct speech sections of the Gospel text are brought by other singers in the same "secco" format e.
In between the sections or scenes of the Gospel text, other texts are sung as a meditation or underlining the action, in a variety of formats:. The work is divided into two parts to be performed before and after the sermon of the Good Friday service. The first scenes are in Jerusalem : Jesus announces his death No. A scene in Bethany No. The next scene No. In a great contrast of mood the preparation for the "Easter meal" Osterlamm is described No.
After the meal they go together to the Mount of Olives No. At the garden of Gethsemane No. It is there No. While soprano and alto mourn in duet, No. In a dramatic highpoint of the Passion,   the chorus No. The next call by Chorus I is Seht ihn See him! The dialogue with these questions is repeated, and then, from measure 30, Chorus I sings the text of the incipit again while in ripieno sopranos sing the first two lines of Nikolaus Decius ' chorale " O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig " O Lamb of God , innocent as the cantus firmus.
All sentences of the first stanza of Decius' hymn are used as cantus firmus throughout the movement by the ripienists. The opening chorus continues by taking up the questions and answers by Chorus I and II again, now adding: Sehet — Was? When the cantus firmus has died out, Chorus I and II return to the first three lines of the text, from measure 82 until the conclusion of the chorus in measure Matthew —2 places the first scene two days before the Passover feast.
After a few words of introduction by the Evangelist, the first words of Christ, set as an accompagnato recitative with slow strings, contain an ominous prediction of his imminent fate. Chorale: first stanza of Johann Heermann's " Herzliebster Jesu ". The first two lines of the hymn are a rhetorical question: "My dearest Jesus, which crimes have you committed, that such dire judgement has been passed?
The narration follows Jesus' instructions for securing the upper room for Passover, and the beginning of the Last Supper. Upon Jesus' declaration that one of the twelve will betray him in 9d, they ask him "Lord, is it I? The sopranos sing the cantus firmus, the other voices interpret aspects of the narration. In the and — versions, a ripieno soprano choir was added to the soprano line. Jesus is silent to this, but his answer to the question if he is the Son of God is considered a sacrilege calling for his death. Outside in the courtyard No.
In the morning No. Pilate interrogates Jesus No. But the crowd, given the choice to have Jesus released or Barabbas , a thief, insurrectionist and murderer, asks with one voice "Barrabam! They vote to crucify Jesus, Pilate gives in, washing his hands claiming his innocence, and delivers Jesus to torture and crucifixion.
On the way to the crucifixion site No. At Golgatha No. Even his last words are misunderstood. He dies. Matthew describes the tearing of the Temple curtain and an earthquake — set to music by Bach. In the evening No. The following day No. Part Two is opened by a dialog between the alto soloist deploring her lost Jesus and choir II offering help in searching for him, quoting Song of Songs Wo ist denn dein Freund hingegangen.
Highly contented, there the eyes fall asleep. The St Matthew Passion was not heard in more or less its entirety outside Leipzig until , when the twenty-year-old Felix Mendelssohn performed a version in Berlin , with the Berlin Singakademie , to great acclaim. Mendelssohn's revival brought the music of Bach, particularly the large-scale works, to public and scholarly attention although the St John Passion had been rehearsed by the Singakademie in Appreciation, performance and study of Bach's composition have persisted into the present era.
The Passion was performed under the Cantor of St. Thomas until about John and St. Matthew, and "possibly the St. In Felix Mendelssohn 's maternal grandmother Bella Salomon had given him a copy of the score of the Passion. Zelter had a supply of J. Bach scores and was an admirer of Bach's music but he was reticent about any public performances.
When Felix Mendelssohn was preparing his revival performance of the Passion in in Berlin the first performance outside Leipzig , he cut out "ten arias about a third of them , seven choruses about half , [but] only a few of the chorales," which "emphasized the drama of the Passion story In Felix and a few friends began weekly sessions to rehearse the Passion. Devrient was especially enthusiastic, hoping to sing the part of Jesus as he eventually did.
Zelter was reluctant but eventually gave his approval; that of the Singakademie board followed. Once the fuller group of singers and the orchestra were brought in, Devrient recalled, participants were amazed at "the abundance of melodies, the rich expression of emotion, the passion, the singular style of declamation, and the force of the dramatic action. Their first performance was effectively publicized in six consecutive issues of the Berliner Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung , founded and edited by Adolf Bernhard Marx.
There was a second performance on 21 March, also sold out. In a third, on 18 April, Zelter conducted, and soon there were performances in Frankfurt where a previously projected performance of the Passion had been upstaged by those in Berlin and in Breslau and Stettin. William Sterndale Bennett became a founder of the Bach Society of London in with the intention of introducing Bach's works to the English public. The soloists included Charlotte Helen Sainton-Dolby. Excerpts of the work were performed on the American television program Omnibus on 31 March in the episode "The Music of J.
The St Matthew Passion has been presented in staged performances. Typically, these are done with all performers in street clothes or neutral costumes, the orchestras on stage, at least the soloists singing without scores from memory, and the words acted out in a solemn, melodramatic fashion with only a minimal stage set. Notable staged performances include Jonathan Miller 's production in English. The Evangelist in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is the tenor part in his oratorios and Passions who narrates the exact words of the Bible, translated by Martin Luther, in recitative secco.
Some cantatas also contain recitatives of Bible quotations, assigned to the tenor voice. Bach followed a tradition using the tenor for the narrator of a gospel. In contrast, the vox Christi, voice of Christ, is always the bass in Bach's works, including several cantatas. Johann Sebastian Bach 31 March [O. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Western musical canon.
The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. From he was employed as Thomaskantor cantor at St. Thomas in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum.
From he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened in some of his earlier positions, he had a difficult relation with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions.
He died of complications after eye surgery in at the age of Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments.