“As time passes, Bach’s music grows ever more weighty and significant,” said Pilinszky, with reference to the St John Passion.
“This Baroque musician has become the most modern composer of our time. He is at once both timeless and hyper-modern,
or, to be more precise: the one we have the most need for.”
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Saint John’s Passion depicts the suffering and death of Jesus based on the words of the Apostle John
the Evangelist. The work was written for Good Friday of 1724 and is a wonderful combination of theatrical work and oratorio,
a monumental piece in which 3 hours of music are heard in a performance requiring nearly 200 musicians and singers.
While “Matthew” weeps and ruminates, “John” points the way forward from there. “Matthew” is a mass, while “John”
is an opera. Or not quite. From research done by scholars, we know a great deal about the role that opera played in Bach’s
era. For some reason, however, the composer himself never wrote opera, only oratorical works whose participants were
in true dramatic roles. Probably the greatest virtue of Saint John’s Passion is that it allows the Good Friday story – despite
all of its cruelty and pain – to ring out with a truly positive clamour of brilliant and hopeful music heralding the joy of the
Resurrection. Károly Eperjes, who is open about his Christian faith, will be bringing the genre into a stylised arena within the
setting of early Christianity, while also bringing the magic of cinema into the mix.