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Revitalising an Easter Tradition

posted date: Wednesday 24th April 2019

A longstanding event that was a feature in Christchurch in the week before Easter by local choirs was the performance of The Passion of Christ based on the scriptures of Matthew and John with the music by J S Bach. These performances were held in the Town Hall and the two Cathedrals.

For those unfamiliar with the works, the events leading to the Crucifixion are progressed by a Narrator and include other roles for Christ, Peter and Judas.  The choir represents crowd scenes with choruses and reflections in the form of chorales (hymns). The words and music bring out clearly the reactions of fear, hate, remorse, sorrow, repentance and love.

Although first performed in the 18th century the music may not be your thing. For myself as a regular performer and listener I found it was often a time of spiritual renewal.  At the end of March I went to a performance of the St Matthew Passion presented by the combined City Choirs of Christchurch and Dunedin in the Dunedin Town Hall. It is planned to repeat this performance in Christchurch next year. I encourage you in your future preparation for Easter to listen or be involved in some of the great variety of music written for this season and maybe attend The Passion concert.

Howard Harvey