Conducted by Van Veldhoven, the Netherlands Bach Society performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passio secundum Johannem or St John Passion (German: Johannes-Passion), BWV 245. This performance was recorded on March 11, 2017, at the Grote Kerk, Naarden, the Netherlands.

Conducted by Van Veldhoven, the Netherlands Bach Society performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passio secundum Johannem or St John Passion (German: Johannes-Passion), BWV 245. This performance was recorded on March 11, 2017, at the Grote Kerk, Naarden, the Netherlands.


  • Raphael Höhn, evangelist (tenor)
  • Myriam Arbouz, soprano
  • Maria Valdmaa (Maid), soprano
  • Daniël Elgersma, alto
  • Marine Fribourg, alto
  • Gwilym Bowen, tenor
  • Guy Cutting (Servant), tenor
  • Felix Schwandtke (Jesus), bass
  • Drew Santini (Peter), bass
  • Angus Mc Phee (Pilate), bass

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion (German: Johannes-Passion)

Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St John Passion,” BWV 245, is a monumental work in the history of music, particularly within the sacred oratorio genre. This piece, composed for the Good Friday Vespers service of 1724, is a musical setting of the Passion as told in the Gospel of John. It is one of the two surviving Passion settings by Bach, the other being the more famous “St Matthew Passion.”

The “St John Passion” is structured in two parts, designed to be performed before and after the sermon of the Good Friday service. The narrative is based on chapters 18 and 19 of the Gospel of John, interspersed with arias and chorales that provide reflective commentary on the events of the Passion. The text for these reflective parts was written by various librettists, including Barthold Heinrich Brockes and Christian Heinrich Postel. The work also includes chorales, which would have been familiar to the congregation, allowing them to participate emotionally and spiritually in the performance.

Musically, the “St John Passion” is characterized by its dramatic and expressive intensity. Bach uses a variety of musical forms and techniques to convey the story’s emotional depth and theological significance. The narrative portions are sung in recitative, moving the story forward, while the arias provide a more personal, introspective dimension, reflecting on the events’ significance. The choruses and chorales are powerful and emotive, often representing the collective voice of the people or the church.

One of the notable aspects of the “St John Passion” is its dramatic immediacy. Bach’s setting is more concise and direct than the later “St Matthew Passion,” giving it a sense of urgency and intensity. The opening chorus, “Herr, unser Herrscher” (“Lord, our ruler”), immediately establishes a tone of solemn majesty and sets the stage for the narrative that follows.

Throughout the work, Bach employs a rich and varied orchestration. The use of different instruments, such as the lute in certain arias, adds color and emotional depth to the music. The vocal parts, including those for soloists and choir, are demanding and require a high level of skill, reflecting Bach’s expectations of his performers.

The “St John Passion” has undergone various revisions by Bach himself. Over the years, he altered the orchestration, added and removed certain arias and chorales, and made other changes for different performances. This has resulted in several versions of the work, with the 1724 version being the most commonly performed today.

In terms of its historical and musical significance, the “St John Passion” stands as a profound expression of Baroque religious music. It not only exemplifies Bach’s mastery of musical form and his deep understanding of the theological content but also provides a deeply moving experience for both performers and listeners. Its performance continues to be a significant event, particularly during the Lenten season, and it remains a cornerstone of choral-orchestral repertoire.

Netherlands Bach Society’s St Jon Passion Program

With start times in the video:

  1. 0:00:00 Herr unser Herrscher (Chor)
  2. 0:11:42 Jesum von Nazareth (Chor)
  3. 0:13:03 O große Lieb (Choral)
  4. 0:15:16 Dein Will gescheh (Choral)
  5. 0:17:06 Von den Stricken meiner Sünden (Arie)
  6. 0:21:56 Ich folge dir gleichfalls (Arie)
  7. 0:28:31 Wer hat dich so geschlagen (Choral)
  8. 0:30:55 Bist du nicht seiner Jünger (Chor)
  9. 0:32:53 Ach, mein Sinn (Arie)
  10. 0:36:05 Petrus, der nicht denkt zurück (Choral)
  11. 0:37:40 Christus, der uns selig macht (Choral)
  12. 0:39:31 Wäre dieser nicht einer Übeltäter (Chor)
  13. 0:40:42 Wir dürfen niemand töten (Chor)
  14. 0:43:00 Ach großer König (Choral)
  15. 0:46:12 Nicht diesen, sondern Barrabam (Chor)
  16. 0:46:55 Betrachte, meine Seel (Arioso)
  17. 0:49:23 Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken (Arie)
  18. 0:56:24 Sei gegrüßet, lieber Jüdenkönig (Chor)
  19. 0:57:50 Kreuzige, kreuzige (Chor)
  20. 0:58:59 Wir haben ein Gesetz (Chor)
  21. 1:01:36 Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn (Choral)
  22. 1:02:50 Lässest du diesen los (Chor)
  23. 1:04:35 Weg, weg mit dem (Chor)
  24. 1:05:42 Wir haben keinen König (Chor)
  25. 1:06:46 Eilt, ihr angefochtnen Seelen (Arie)
  26. 1:11:46 Schreibe nicht: der Jüden König (Chor)
  27. 1:12:39 In meines Herzens Grunde (Choral)
  28. 1:14:32 Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen (Chor)
  29. 1:17:46 Er nahm alles wohl in acht (Choral)
  30. 1:20:28 Es ist vollbracht (Arie)
  31. 1:26:21 Mein teurer Heiland (Arie)
  32. 1:31:03 Mein Herz indem die ganze Welt (Arioso)
  33. 1:32:01 Zerfließe, mein Herze (Arie)
  34. 1:40:43 O hilf, Christe, Gottes Sohn (Choral)
  35. 1:43:44 Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine (Chor)
  36. 1:50:43 Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein (Choral)


M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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