Good Friday

Bach. The Passion According to St. John, in an exquisite performance by the Bach Collegium Japan, directed by Maasaki Suzuki.


I can hardly bear to pick favorites, but if you have to choose, I’d say 3, 5, 10, and 11.

I was lucky enough to sing this with John Ferris conducting when I was in college. I don’t think I’ve ever understood Easter more fully. The choir sings the crowd scenes, mocking Jesus, calling–screaming–for his death, and then also provides chorale commentary making explicit that sin implicates us in Christ’s death. And then at the end, redemption–a chance to love Jesus after all–in the sweet lullabye “Ruht wohl.” It’s a compressed experience of atonement; feeling the full, terrible weight of one’s sinfulness, immediately and tenderly relieved by grace.


  1. Chris L. says:

    Are you going to see the BSO do this with Suzuki this weekend?

  2. Kristine says:

    No, I have other singing commitments. It’s _killing_ me!

  3. Margaret says:

    Kristine, I have really loved the music you have posted all week. It has made Holy Week different and beautiful. Would you be willing to post Sunday’s selection early? I want to use whatever you close fit my RS lesson that day. Thank you for sharing.

  4. BWJohnson says:

    This discussion is so over my head and I’m afraid I’m going to betray my ignorance, but I have to know. Do you have favorite CDs and artists that you listen to? If so, may I ask for some recommendations? Thank you so much.

  5. Kristine says:

    BWJohnson, you’re in luck (or something!)–I’ve opined at length about such things.

    As far as CDs, here are some favorites (sorry to link to the evil empire–lazy)

    Vaughan Williams
    (This recording is good, too, except I don’t really like the Serenade to Music; Corydon Singers are also usually good)

    Arvo Part (also De Profundis and I am the True Vine)

    Victoria (The Sixteen are one of my favorite choral groups–consistently very, very good)

    Tavener (Chanticleer is also a consistently good choir, if countertenors (i.e. men singing soprano and alto) don’t freak you out)

    The Cambridge Singers

  6. The entire St. John !
    What will be left to post next year ?

    (Ha, that’s a dumb question … never mind!)

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