The interpretation of the Passion story from the Gospel of St Matthew by the German composer Johann Sebastiani (1622-1683) is a third of the length of Bach’s masterpiece and precedes it by roughly half a century. In the 17th century, settings of the Passion story had become the speciality of the Lutheran church. Sebastiani would be the first to incorporate these Lutheran chorales into the score, giving the solo voices an accompaniment of strings and basso continuo. His score alternates recitatives for the Evangelist and the words of Christ with hymns and chorales performed by the other singers. The work alternates subtly between the different parts with a carefully chosen instrumentation – just two violins accompany the words of Christ, whereas the chorales for the solo soprano are only accompanied by the four viols. Agostino Steffani’s moving Stabat Mater from 1728 completes this superb Passion concert.
J. Sebastiani: Das Leyden und Sterben unsers Herrn und Heylandes Jesu Christi nach dem heiligen Matthaeo | A. Steffani: Stabat Mater
Jacob Lawrence, tenor/Evangelist | Sebastian Myrus, bass/Jesus | L’Achéron | Vox Luminis | Lionel Meunier, artistic director