As I have said before, more than once, when talking about music:
(This is an open goal for musicologists – my theoretical knowledge of music is minimal. Please comment if this needs another update.)When I first discussed Bach's St John Passion here I recalled many hours standing listening to the Passion story during mass; it was standing room only in churches around Easter (in the One True Chorch, that is):
... on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday ([ed. there were) dramatized readings on that day, to the extent of having separate voices for the Evangelist, Jesus, Pilate, Peter et al., but without Bach's extraordinary music).Later in the same post I mentioned this pelagic pun:
Beethoven's pun ...
from Rick Marschall's biography, p. 99[I imagine the English word 'beck' – now for the most part reserved for dialects and crossword puzzles–is related.]
I am reminded of a venial sin of mine, which I feel the need to confess. At a quiz held by my choir a few years ago, this pun was background to a question about the meaning of Bach. At the time, I didn't know; but I guessed that there might be some link between the consonants in the two languages (German and English). I scrawled my guess: book. My reputation as someone who sometimes knows stuff about language may have influenced the marker on the neighbouring table – assuming that I'd got it right because it was the sort of thing I get right,
The situation was quite competitive, and I accepted the ill-gotten point. (Stupid really. We didn't win – divine retribution, no doubt.)
...came to mind as I listened to the recit before Peter's Ach, mein Sinn, with its excruciating chromatic keening – a mixture of grief, fear, and self-pity. Not long afterwards the dramatic writing is no less oceanic when the veil of the Temple is rent 'from top to bottom' [cascade of little black notes] and 'the earth did quake' [another three bars of frenetic black notes], until an uneasy peace is restored when 'many bodies of saints arose'.(Ed: My memory here was at fault. Ach mein Sinn isn't sung by Peter; it's a reflection sung by an unnamed tenor after Peter's denial.)
Anyway, the St John Passion is uppermost in my mind at the moment, because of my choir's forthcoming concert (oo-er, on Sunday week):
Don't miss it.