SATB chorus; SATB soli; orchestra, continuo
St Mark Passion
Music: J S Bach, Andrew Wilson-Dickson, Words: Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander)
Voicing: SATB chorus; SATB soli; orchestra, continuo
Performance time approx: approx 102 minutes
Price code: Z
We know that J.S. Bach wrote a St Mark Passion: there are records of performances on Good Friday in 1731 and 1744, and there is a complete libretto by Picander (who also wrote the libretto of the St Matthew Passion). But no musical score survives. There is strong evidence that Bach recycled music from elsewhere (as was common practice) for the opening and closing choruses and also for the five arias, as their words align metrically with those of other pieces. The opening and closing chorus lyrics, for example, exactly fit superb choruses from Cantata 198, Lass, Fürstin (originally composed for the funeral of a princess). The libretto also gives us a pretty good idea which chorales were likely to have been used – and harmonisations by Bach himself of each of these survive. What remains completely unknown is the music of the narrative or recitative sections (delivered by the Evangelist), and of the choruses which Bach used, as in his other Passions, to portray the actions and reactions of the crowd and the twelve disciples. Andrew Wilson-Dickson has composed original music – in the style of Bach – for these missing sections, incorporating them with Bach’s own chorales and the Cantata 198 choruses and arias mentioned above, to complete the St. Mark Passion.
The work was performed for the first time on Good Friday, 2016 by the Welsh Camerata and the Welsh Baroque Orchestra at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, directed by Andrew Wilson-Dickson, with soloists Sian Winstanley (soprano), Catherine King (alto), Peter Wilman (tenor) and Steven Hamnett (bass).