Easter Bunny Sunday!
So on this happy day, we thought hard and quick about what Easter Sunday means to us. Of course, the character of Santuzza in her duet with Turiddu when she wishes him to have a “bad Easter” in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana comes first to mind. Why, might you ask does she do this? It is in the heat of passion and rage that she accuses him of an affair with Lola and denounces her love for him in the same breath. Her last resort is to hit him where it hurts, his beliefs. The music, exquisite. The text, important to the story. The moment, pure drama.
But that is not all, we understand that Easter Sunday is so much more than drama, story, and religious beliefs. It is about historical reflection, honoring tradition, and about being true to yourself in your personal passions, whatever shape that might take. It is a time when we can listen to the beauty of music and let go of all else. Whether in a church singing glorious music or walking through the park on a sunny afternoon with your loved ones. It is certain that no other composer than Bach does this for us, and brings us closer to such a reverie.
On Good Friday, 11 April 1727, during the vespers service in the Tomaskirche in Leipzig, Johan Sebastian Bach’s Matthäus-Passion was performed for the first time. It is perfectly clear that the composer knew this work would change music history. Because, even more so than in his St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion voices not only a story of divine truth but also and above all a deep sensation of human suffering the undertones of which can be recognised by many. Due to recent events, many performances of this special work have been dedicated to the victims and their families. Specifically, at the Brussels International Music Festival (http://www.klarafestival.be/en/content/st-matthew-passion-bach). While I was visiting Zurich this past week, I had the pleasure to attend a performance of Bach’s BWV 244 in full at the TonHalle Orchester (http://www.tonhalle-orchester.ch/en/) on Thursday surrounded by an appreciative and pensive audience.
Here is an excerpt of tenor’s Nicolai Gedda, performing “Ich will bet mine Jesu wachen” from Matthäus-Passion.
This Easter, we encourage you to think about your passions, your loves, whatever makes you happy, and go after it. Like author and activist Howard Thurman says, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
For us, it’s easy, we sing.
Translation found at: http://www.gbt.org/music/St_Matthew_text.pdf