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Charlotte Symphony: Bach St. Matthew Passion 

When: Fri., Nov. 22 and Sat., Nov. 23 2013
Price: $19.50-$85.50

Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1727 oratorio for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra is one of the grandest works in the classical canon, and arguably the greatest piece of liturgical music ever penned. Clocking in at three hours (depending on the conductor’s tempo), it’s also a marathon of sorts, but one that rewards listeners throughout with moments of sublime grandeur and heart-wrenching poignancy. Often set in question-and-answer style (the baroque era’s call-and-response, if you like), the arias and meditative recitatives offer personal and theological comment on the story of Jesus’ betrayal, capture and crucifixion as told in the Evangelist Matthew’s gospel. The genius of the piece lies as much in its precise melodic clarity as in the complexity of the arrangements and orchestration, and when those opening and closing chorales kick in ... well, good luck with the goose bumps. Much like admiring a grand cathedral for its architectural beauty, there’s no religious requirement to enjoy works of art this heartfelt. With Scott Allen Jarrett conducting the Charlotte Symphony and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. (John Schacht)


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