- Bach’s Matthew Passion in the staged version by Peter Sellars, with S–Simon Rattle directing the Berlin Phil in 2013:
The audio of their 2014 Prom can currently be heard again on BBC Radio 3, but do immerse yourself in the ritual drama of the filmed version from Berlin.
At its heart is the astounding Mark Padmore as the Evangelist (note his illuminating discussion with Peter Sellars). Also moving is the human role of the chorus, as well as the staging of the arias—such as Aus liebe and Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand. The entire “collective meditation” is overwhelming.
On “intersubjective tears” in 18th-century German religious music, see here. Further to “performative tears” (links here), for anyone who doesn’t know Bach’s two settings of the Evangelist’s cry of “und ging hinaus/heraus… und weinete bitterlich“, then listen and weep, along with Peter and the Evangelist—
- in the Matthew Passion (Part 2, from 18.55), leading into Erbarme Dich (for which, also click here and here),
- and it’s just as moving in the John Passion (again with Mark Padmore here, from 33.48; cf. this Proms performance).
Jonathan Miller’s 1993 staged version is wonderful too: