In the context of Bach’s oeuvre, both preserved settings of the Passion, according to Matthew and according to John, are among the central works. At the same time, they represent a particular type of an opulent Passion setting for soloists, choir, and orchestra. This musical form emerged from centuries of development: since the middle of the 15th century, partly polyphonic settings of Biblical tales about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ have been documented. In comparison with the works of Bach’s contemporaries but also with his own later St Matthew Passion, St John Passion stands out, for instance, by the elaborate and emotionally charged choruses in the scene of Pilate’s judgement.
Collegium 1704 is a Prague-based highly acclaimed Baroque orchestra established in 2005 by the conductor and harpsichordist Václav Luks. The orchestra & vocal ensemble present famous orchestral and choral works by well-known composers as well as long-forgotten and now rediscovered treasures of the Baroque repertoire. The ensemble has been successfuly promoting work of Czech masters like Jan Dismas Zelenka and Josef Mysliveček.