Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his St. Matthew Passion for a single purpose — to present the Passion story in music at Good Friday vesper services.

Bach's Passion continues to move audiences nearly three centuries after it was first heard in St. Thomas's Church in Leipzig, Germany. Standing as one of the pillars of Western sacred music, it is at once monumental and intimate, deeply sorrowful and powerful.

José Meléndez

Join us on Easter Sunday as Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) presents its annual concert of sacred choral music, Jubilate!, April 4th from 4 to 6 PM on WRTI. David Antony Lofton conducts the AVA Opera Orchestra and AVA resident artists in three centuries of sacred music, recorded at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral in late March following all COVID-19 protocols.

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Join us for our annual broadcast of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday, April 2nd, from noon to 3 PM. Recorded at the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge in April 2019, the concert features Academy of Ancient Music & Choir of King's College conducted by Stephen Cleobury just months before his untimely passing.


WRTI is happy to bring you this festive re-broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Handel’s Messiah on Easter Sunday, April 4th from 1 to 4 PM on WRTI 90.1, and Monday, April 5th from 7 to 10 PM on WRTI HD-2.

Andrea Bocelli, the superstar tenor, will livestream an Easter Sunday concert from Milan's famed Duomo cathedral. Just like practically every other church in the world, the pews will be empty, and Bocelli will be accompanied only by organist Emanuele Vianelli. The concert will stream live on Bocelli's YouTube channel on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts one of the supreme monuments in Western music, and the work that initiated the great rediscovery of Bach’s music when the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn conducted it in Berlin in 1829 – the St. Matthew Passion.

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Although Handel’s Messiah is now regularly performed during the Christmas holidays, the work was actually premiered in the spring before Easter. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the fantastically successful masterpiece, which was created by necessity in just 24 days over two centuries ago.

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While sprawling forsythia herald the change of seasons like a silent trumpet fanfare, we hunker down inside or go out for walks at a safe social distance. It's a springtime like none of us have ever experienced.

Widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music, the St. Matthew Passion is an oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias.

Bach's St. John Passion for Good Friday on WRTI

Apr 11, 2014

Join WRTI on Good Friday at noon, for a complete performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion, a work written for Good Friday Vespers service of 1724 in Leipzig. This performance was recorded in concert on Good Friday in 2013 in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center.

Valentin Radu conducts his Ama Deus Ensemble and features soprano Megan Monaghan, alto Jody Kidwell, tenor Kenneth Garner, and bass-baritone Kevin Deas, and The Philadelphia Boys Choir. This performance is sung in English.