Johann Sebastian Bach


From the Matthaeus Passion

On this date J.S. Bach died (1685-1750).

Frye on the Matthaeus Passion:

In the twenty years I’ve been listening to the Passion, I’ve changed my mind about it.  I used to feel that the narration was something to sit through, & one waited for the arias and the choruses.  Now I feel that the work is primarily narration, as the arias & choruses, with greater familiarity, fall into the background as commentaries.  This, of course, brings out its real tragic structure, as it’s like Greek tragedy, not only in its use of chorus, but in its reporting of events.  Even Christ, even though he does his own singing, is contained within the narration.  (Cited in Robert Denham, Frye Unbuttoned, 18-19)

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