“I have never experienced such silence or seen an audience moved in this way.”(Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy)
Up to the present day there has scarcely been a work in the history of music which has fascinated listeners and performers more than Bach’s “St Matthew Passion”. Originally composed for Vespers on Good Friday, and even longer in duration than the “St John Passion”, it reconstructs the story of Christ’s Passion with immense musical, emotional and spiritual intensity.
And so, this monumental and complex composition has come to rank amongst the high points of Western culture. For good reason the “rediscovery” of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music began in 1829 with theperformance of this work by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and the Berlin Singakademie.The autograph manuscript is regarded as one of Bach’s most beautiful the fair copy demonstrates the importance he attached to the careful preservation of the work for posterity. A further special feature is the coloured ink with which he wrote the biblical text and the music of the chorale “O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig”.This facsimile edition reproduces the autograph score of the “St Matthew Passion” for the first time in high-quality colour printing. The Bach specialist Christoph Wolff introduces the background to the work’s composition and the characteristics of the manuscript.
Martina Rebmann (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) provides further details regarding the history of the autograph manuscript; with a preface by Barbara Schneider-Kempf, general director of the Staatsbibliothek. The seal is used exclusively for facsimile editions published by Bärenreiter which meet the highest demands in both scholarly and technical terms.
The distinguishing features include: