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April 16   -   Guardian

St John Passion review – Britten Sinfonia deliver no sermons, but plenty of feeling

Barbican, London Mark Padmore resurrected the role of Evangelist in an experimental staging of Bach’s choral masterpiece that included compelling readings by Simon Russell Beale

Bach performed his St John Passion four times between 1724 and 1749, and on each occasion it was somewhat different, with sections included or left out. Nowadays, as with his other major choral works, interpretations come in all shapes and sizes. Large-scale performances with big choirs and orchestras, though, are a good deal rarer than they once were, while the once-preposterous idea – first floated in 1981 by the Bach scholar Joshua Rifkin – that the composer intended only one singer to undertake each of the individual vocal lines has been widely taken up.

Related: A Passion for Bach: why the St John belongs on the live stage at Easter

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