Fri 19.4.2019 03.00 pm Hämeenlinna Church, Hämeenlinna

St. John Passion

The passion of the death of Jesus

J. S. Bach

Timo Kiiskinen, tenor (evangelist)
Jorma Hynninen, bass (Jesus)
Mikael Maasalo, baritone (Pilate)
Anni Koskinen, soprano
Hanna-Leena Keinänen, alto
Mats Lillhannus, tenor
Jouni Kuorikoski, bass
Elja Puukko, baritone
Chamber Choir Utopia
Finnish Broque Orchestra
Heikki Seppänen, conductor


Good Friday commemorates the condemnation, crucifixion and death of Jesus. The first tones of the passion are played at three in the afternoon, which is the traditional time to remember the death of Jesus. The gospel describes how Jesus was crucified in the third hour, or at nine in the morning. At noon, the sun stopped shining and darkness fell over the world. It lasted until the moment of death, when at three in the afternoon, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, and Jesus loudly cried out: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
The emotionally expressive music offers the listener a channel to face the overpowering reality of death and suffering. The passion of the Gospel of John is divided into different scenes, from the arrest and trial of Jesus, to his crucifixion and burial. The listener can be quiet before the cross, and think of what the death and crucifixion of Jesus means to them personally. As the name indicates, the text is based on the Gospel of John, but Bach also used many other texts as sources. In the performance, the Finnish translation will be projected on the church wall.

In the St. John Passion, the Evangelist narrator, Jesus, and the biblical characters perform recitatives directly from the Bible. The choir sings texts that has several speakers, as in a crowd. The solo arias and the chorales performed by the choir comment on the events of the passion. The passion was originally meant for the Good Friday service. It was accompanied by a sermon, and it is possible that the congregation sang along to the chorales.

Duration: 2 h 15 min (no intermission)