On Palm Sunday, Saint Deiniol’s Cathedral Choir will perform J. S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion (Saint John Passion), accompanied by the instrumental forces of Ensemble 525, and augmented by the voices of the Bangor University Chorus.
Saint John Passion, J. S. Bach
Saint Deiniol’s Cathedral Choir
Bangor University Chorus
Tom Castle, Evangelist
Jack Redman, Christus
Joe Cooper, conductor
Tickets: £15 (adults) / £10 (concessions) / £5 (children)
Whenever I am asked to be the Evangelist for the Bach Passions, I am filled with anticipation and really look forward to the occasion. The Evangelist role for the tenor is unique, possessing a number of challenges for a singer but also allowing them a special role in the telling of the Passion story. You really feel like you are speaking to the audience about the heart of the drama. There are a number of truly wonderful moments in Bach's Johannes-Passion, but, for me, the passage during which Jesus is tried and condemned to death is some of the most astounding music ever written. The Chorus acts as the rabble, while the Evangelist gets to piece the story together through a series of dramatic and poignant recitatives. Anyone who has been the Evangelist for the Johannes-Passion will tell you the same thing – it is hard! The range expected of the tenor is enormous and much of it is very high. You have to combine this with making it all sound as easy as possible! But this piece of music is one of the greatest ever written, and I really do look forward to performing it at Saint Deiniol's Cathedral.
When I was invited to sing Christus at this performance of the Johannes-Passion, I was very excited at the prospect of performing in the beautiful, ancient Cathedral at Bangor for a second time with its very accomplished choir. My first visit consisted of an exuberant performance of Handel’s Coronation anthems and the premiere of a new Welsh-language Mass setting by the composer, Daniel Pett. The introduction to singing in Welsh was daunting, especially to an attentive congregation of native speakers! Thankfully for me, the role of Christus requires German, a language more familiar to me from singing at London’s Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, and my work as a Lieder and Opera accompanist. I am thoroughly looking forward to performing this emotionally charged role to Bangor’s audience.