– MaGMa Trio Easter concert: Erbarme dich

J.S. Bach 1685-1750

During our Easter concert in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche-en-Ardenne (14 April at 16.00 hrs), we will pay tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). His Matthäuspassion (Saint Matthew Passion) had been forgotten, but it was reintroduced by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809–1847). Since then this beautiful and touching work is being performed each year during the Easter period.

F. M. Bartholdy 1809-1847

I have a little basket full of programmes of concerts. On top of this pile was the booklet of the Saint Matthew Passion in Hoorn (Netherlands) of 13 April 1946! I have no idea where I got it from. Perhaps because my aunt Dora van Meegen-Jorritsma sang the alto part or because she played the violin in the orchestra? I remember, when I was still a child, that I was in tears when she sang the Ave Maria by Schubert. She was a much appreciated and loved singer who had a extraordinary warm timbre. Regrettably she died being only 56 years of age …

Although I am a mezzo, I will sing the aria “Erbarme dich” as it is written in the partition. Whenever orchestras play the music with authentic instruments, everything sounds half a note lower. Ideal for me in soprano partitions. But it means that also the partitions for the alto voice are lowered half a note and the aria then is sung sometimes by a contra-alto, like the magnificent Delphine Galou. Definitely worth listening to!

The text in German is:
Erbarme dich, mein Gott, um meiner Zähren willen!
Schaue hier, Herz und Auge weint vor dir Bitterlich.

They are the words spoken by Saint Peter and translate as follows:

Have mercy, My God, for my tears sake;
Look hither, Heart and eyes weep before thee bitterly.

The Evangelist introduces this aria by telling/singing:

And at this moment the cock crew. Then Peter thought back to the
words of Jesus, when he said unto him: “Before the cock shall have
crowed, wilt three times thou have denied me.” And he went out an
wept with great bitterness.

Heartbreaking words with heartbreaking music …
Luckily the Passion time is followed by the happy Easter time. You’ll find this in our programme as well.

Wishing you another great week with lovely music!
Marijke Persijn

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