16 Mar 2019

Peter Sellars talks about Bach’s “St John Passion” (18 min.)

With its music characterised not only by doubt and violence, but also deep humanity and hope, even contemporary audiences felt that Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion was overwhelming, as Peter Sellars says in this introduction. His staged realisation of the work, which had already impressed audiences five years earlier, was revived in March 2019. To mark the occasion, Sir Simon Rattle returned to the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time since his departure as chief conductor. According to Sellars, Bach created a “soundtrack to human fallibility” with his music for the Gospel of St John. The American director believes that the topicality of the work comes not least from the fact that even today, as in the Passion story, we see the use of the politics of fear and the silencing of those with a moral sense.

The concert