Carney parish explores Bach’s St. Matthew Passion

“Monumental” is the word often used to describe Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

Written to be performed at Good Friday services, the spiritually haunting work retells the story of Christ’s arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial as presented in St. Matthew’s Gospel. It also incorporates other poetry and chorales. 

Unveiled in 1727 at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, the composition is believed to have been performed only three other times while Bach was alive. The masterpiece was then lost to virtual obscurity until a young composer named Felix Mendelssohn revived it in 1829.

Katherine Scott, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore who now serves as the very talented music director of St. Isaac Jogues in Carney, will lead a small faith-sharing group over the course of the next few Sundays that will explore the St. Matthew Passion. Participants will listen to and discuss the sacred music, and Scott will provide the full text and translation.

Scott said she plans to look at how Bach uses musical devices to bring out the text’s meaning.

“If you have never heard this work,” she said, “prepare to be floored!”

The discussion group will meet Sundays March 13, 20, 27, and April 3 from  7-8:30 p.m. at St. Isaac Jogues’ Cronin Center, 9215 Old Harford Road.

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About George P. Matysek Jr.

George P. Matysek Jr. is the assistant managing editor of The Catholic Review in Baltimore. View all posts by George P. Matysek Jr.

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