Just in: First video of homeless St Matthew Passion

Just in: First video of homeless St Matthew Passion


norman lebrecht

March 28, 2016

On Good Friday and Easter Saturday, in Manchester, Streetwise Opera and The Sixteen partnered on a semi-staged, abridged version of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, with a new finale from James MacMillan.

The Passion was broadcast last night on BBC4. It is being uploaded this morning on Youtube and Slipped Disc is privileged to be the first to bring the performance to an international audience.

homeless st matthew passion streetwise


  • Tom Moore says:

    I hope those are not “Jewish” hats.

    • Peter Freeman says:

      They look about as theologically authentic as the breaking of leavened bread on the feast of unleavened bread, TM.

  • Alan Munro says:

    Abridged but with a finale by McMillan. I think I will give this a miss. I think JS Bach need no such ‘help’. I’m surprised The Sixteen took part. No doubt this helps bring culture to the masses! God help us.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      I understand your dismay. I am no fan of McMillan. But if this outreach project brought (some of) Bach’s music to new listeners who were inspired in any way by it, then it was a worthwhile exercise – in my view.

      It’s not as though Bach’s original score was burned in the process 😉

      Bach’s Passions were not written for an audience of connoisseurs. They were performed for a lay congregation of ordinary working people, as a devotional experience.

      • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

        Not only a devotional experience as mere listeners, but actively participating by singing the chorales.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    The ” ‘Jewish’ hats” referred to by Tom Moore are a clear reference to the headdress of the temple officials in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film “Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo” (1964). See a screen shot image here: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Tnh2yNSsTwA/hqdefault.jpg (- and note that the person in the middle looks like a bishop or Roman Pope). Pasolini cast non-professional actors throughout, which, imho, makes his film the most compelling Jesus movie ever made. The fact that it was shot in b&w adds to its intensity.

  • For a more detailed review of the longer, live performance, see Robert Hugill’s account from Sunday: http://www.planethugill.com/2016/03/simply-remarkable-passion-from.html

  • Patrick says:

    Beautiful throughout. Brought tears to my eyes. Certainly Bach’s music can handle the competition, if you will, and should feel no threat or harm from this touching performance.