Bach’s St Matthew Passion is being performed as part of the Concertgebouworkest’s rich Passion tradition. Conductor Philippe Herreweghe is bringing along his Collegium Vocale Gent, the unsurpassed National Children’s Choir and a selection of specialist vocal soloists.
Bach’s St Matthew Passion can be heard every year in the Netherlands during the Holy Week before Easter. The Concertgebouworkest was instrumental in establishing this monumental tradition. As early as the third year after it was founded, the orchestra performed Bach’s unrivalled masterpiece; as from 1898, it became an annual event. Since the 1970s, the work has consistently alternated with Bach’s St John Passion and in recent years with more contemporary Passions by other composers. But one always returns to the great St Matthew Passion.
The Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe has made frequent guest appearances with the Concertgebouworkest for over twenty-five years. His repertoire is unusually broad – Herreweghe can do anything. But above all, he lives and breathes Bach. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that he has led the Concertgebouworkest no fewer than three times before in the St Matthew Passion. But this won’t simply be a matter of going through the movements again, since every performance of Bach’s great Passion under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe is a whole new experience.