St John Passion – JS Bach

Contact Details:

St Peters House, Kirkgate, Leeds, LS2 7DJ


Leeds Inspired

St John Passion – JS Bach

29th March 2024

A full performance, in English, of JS Bach’s St John Passion, one of the outstanding works and true masterpieces of Western music and culture. Toby Ward (Evangelist) Phil Wilcox (Christus), St Peter’s Singers and the National Festival Orchestra are directed by Alexander Woodrow in the atmospheric beauty of Leeds Minster.

First performed 300 years ago on Good Friday 1724, Bach’s setting of St John’s account of the events leading to Christ’s death remains a masterpiece, performed thousands of times each year all over the world.

It is at times highly dramatic, turbulent and emotional, while soothing, reflective, grief-stricken at others. The choir switches roles between the mob calling for Jesus’ death and the Christian community throughout the ages observing and reliving the horror of those events. The soloists too act out the parts of the main characters while giving voice to the thoughts and feelings of bystanders such as ourselves.

As ever, Bach’s music touches knowingly on our deepest and most complex emotions: love, betrayal, guilt, grief. Despite coming from what seems like another world, this work can still speak to us – moving, fulfilling and uplifting. Step into that world – and find yourself more deeply and truly in this one.