The St Matthew Passion according to Mendelssohn

tue 12 apr 2022

In Bach ad Infinitum on 11th-13th April we’re playing the Felix Mendelssohn version of the St Matthew Passion from 1841.

About 100 years after the première of the St Matthew Passion in Leipzig in 1727 Felix Mendelssohn made an arrangement of this oratorio to make it more accessible to a 19th century public. He cut it shorter and introduced 19th century instruments such as clarinets and a pianoforte.

Mendelssohn started the ‘Bach-Renaissance’ and the revival of the St Matthew Passion. His spirit continued until deep into the 20th century, especially thanks to the conductor Willem Mengelberg.

Mendelssohn made two versions: in 1829 for performance in Berlin, and in 1841 for Leipzig. In Bach ad Infinitum we’re playing the 1841 version.

The performers are Chorus Musicus Köln and Das Neue Orchester conducted by Christoph Spering. The recording dates from 1992.



Picture: Bach and Mendelssohn (source: Mendelssohn chorus of Philadelphia)