This piece of music, from Bach’s St Matthew Passion, describes Peter’s lament after having denied knowing Jesus three times. The text is adapted from the. Bach, Johann Sebastian Erbarme dich from Matthew Passion sheet music Bach wrote hundreds of pieces for organ, choir, as well as many other instruments. After Peter has betrayed his leader an alto sings the famous aria “Erbarme dich, Mein Gott, um meiner Zähren willen!”, “Have mercy Lord, My.

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About a month ago I got chatting to a priest about his Easter plans. As part of his studies bzch was visiting the Sufi prayer sessions I sometimes attend, and I took the chance the question him ervarme a piece of music I had always been curious about: The priest told me I should listen to it once a year on Good Friday as part of a church service. The St Matthew Passion is not an opera but it does have opera-like aspects such as music, text, singing and drama.

Bach – Erbarme dich from Matthew Passion sheet music for Voice

It has been performed on secular stages there was a well-known Jonathan Miller production in revived at the National Theatre last year and is enjoyed by non-Christians and even atheists.

Could I, a non-Christian, fully appreciate such a work? There were hymns sung before and after the Passion and a sermon during the interval.


The first performance in Leipzig inwhere Bach worked as the church organist, was on similar lines though while our service lasted four hours his would have been even longer. The grave opening sets the tone. I like this slow version dicy by Karl Richter.

The call-and-response singing was thrillingly intense and I had expected the rest of the piece to be just as grandly dramatic — in the style of that other Good Friday favourite Parsifal. Yet while the overall design is monumental this Passion — like a great church — is made up of intricate details.

Seventy-eight individual movements lasting between 20 seconds and seven minutes add up to a performance of about three hours.

Can non-Christians appreciate Bach’s St Matthew Passion?

Most moving are the arias sung by both altos and sopranos commenting on the action from the perspective of an anonymous pious believer. So thickly textured is the piece that it needs years of listening to explore. But xich time round two moments stood out: Then an agitated chorus jumps in: Seeing Jesus suffer is heartbreaking, but without that suffering there would be no Christianity.

Plangent yet lyrical, the song offers a much-needed emotional release. It also works as a stand-alone song and prayer and has been performed by great singers such as Christa Ludwig and Marilyn Horne among others. A St Matthew Passion veteran, she heard new things every time she came.

I said I was Muslim. Alain de Botton argues in his recent book Religion for Atheists that you can separate the aesthetic experience of a religious work from its bothersome theological baggage.


Bach – Erbarme dich from Matthew Passion sheet music for Voice –

I have my doubts. The Passion story is devastating for a fich — but how much more so if you believe the man being crucified was God incarnate! Something I stumbled across on YouTube, however, gave me another way in.

Read how Sameer got into opera. From Grand Theft Auto to Rigoletto. The Barber of Seville by Rossini. Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner.

We’re all like that. Passion for Puccini’s Tosca. The sombre romance of Der Rosenkavalier. In Pictures – the story of love and romance: Compiled by Martin Chilton. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Monday 31 Bch Bach’s St Matthew Passion is a musical masterpiece.

But can you understand it without sharing its creator’s beliefs, asks Sameer Rahim The manuscript of the St Matthew Passion carefully copied out in Bach’s own hand. More from the web. Books In Pictures – the story of love and romance: Film 50 great quotes about acting.