JS Bach's St Mark Passion - Welsh Camerata Chamber Choir

JS Bach's St Mark Passion - Welsh Camerata Chamber Choir

Friday, March 25, 2016 - 19:00

Andrew Wilson-Dickson, a 21st century composer steeped in early music and a self confessed pupil of Bach, has created a brand new, imaginative and compelling score, resulting in a skilful blend of Bach's own music with a vivid musical re-telling of the Easter story.

The St Mark is one of four biblical Passions that Bach is known to have composed, of which only two survive in their complete form: St Matthew and St John. It is a ‘parody’ work: owing to time pressures, Bach compiled most of it from music he had already composed for other purposes, a common practice at a time when new music was composed on a weekly basis and was not expected to be kept for posterity. It was written for Easter 1731 and first performed on Good Friday.

Fortunately, we know what that music was, and it is music of quality; remarkably however it shines even brighter in the context of the Passion, as though Bach had known all along that this work was destined for higher purposes. All the existing music can quite easily be matched up with Picander's libretto (which survives in its entirety). But that leaves the recitatives, some arias and the turba choruses without a note.

There have been a number of previous reconstructions, some of them drawing on the music of Bach's near contemporaries, others simply omitting some of the music. None of these present an ‘authentic’ experience of the original performance, and that is our aim, with music newly composed in the style of the great master filling in all the gaps. As both a composer and early music specialist, Andrew Wilson-Dickson is ideally suited to this task. He says, "I imagine myself a pupil of Bach, helping him out in a moment of stress, when the demands and managerial attitudes of the Leipzig Town Council were becoming impossible, added to the needs of a burgeoning family."

For this monumental performance, we have engaged the services of the Welsh Baroque Orchestra and four renowned soloists, Sian Winstanley (soprano), Catherine King (mezzo-soprano), Peter Wilman (tenor), and Stephen Hamnett (bass). The concert is taking place in the stunning Dora Stoutzker Hall of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

There is a pre-concert talk by Andrew Wilson-Dickson, composer and conductor at 6.30pm

We are running a crowd-funding campaign with a number of tempting perks

St Mark Passion
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Castle Grounds
Cardiff CF10 3ER
United Kingdom
51° 29' 3.0588" N, 3° 10' 54.2388" W
Event Information Box
£18, concessions £16; 20% group booking discount for groups of 20+ Available from +44 (0)29 2039 1391 10am-5pm.
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