Monday, March 08, 2010

New Humanist Roots For Contemporary Opera And Oratorio -- New Edition Of Bach's Saint Mark's Passion To Be Performed In Nation's Capital

On Friday March 12, 2010, at the Washington National Cathedral, the U.S. premiere of a new edition of the St. Mark Passion by J.S. Bach will be performed by a Cathedral music ensemble. Only a broad outline of Bach’s intention for this work has survived. However, the scholastic endeavor of musicologists has produced a number of reconstructions of this work. Tonight Cathedra will perform the most recent edition by Malcolm Bruno.

Records exist for the performance of the St. Mark Passion—Bach’fifth and final setting of the Passion text—in Leipzig on Good Friday 1731. Bruno’s edition retains the dramatic narrative of the Evangelist through text spoken by an actor, rather than resorting to musical pastiche or incorporating borrowed material. Bruno draws from Bach’s Trauer Ode, BWV 198, to arrive at this edition; Wilhelm Rust noted in the nineteenth century that both works shared a unique orchestration and that the meters’ scansion matched.


Header credit: Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto "Saint Mark Saving The Saracen"


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