The St. Matthew Passion: A Listener’s Guide

J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1727) is a profound meditation on the Lutheran understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and especially his atoning death. It’s also undoubtedly one of the most important works in the history of music. A performance led by the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn in March 1829 initiated the whole modern movement to appreciate Bach especially and Baroque music in general. Leonard Bernstein introduced American TV audiences to it in 1957, calling it “that glorious work that started me off on my own private ‘passion’ for Bach.”

Join us as we listen together to recordings of several representative passages, with commentary. There should be something of interest for all—both those who know the work already and those whose Bach adventure is just beginning.

Paul Munson is professor of music at Grove City College. He edited the first publication of Franz Liszt’s last major work, St. Stanislaus, and served as advisor for its premier performance and recording. He co-authored Art and Music: A Student’s Guide in the Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series (Crossway). He maintains a web site,, that promotes traditional practices of Protestant congregational singing.


Mar 16 2024


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


St. Paul's Anglican Church
1505 Crownsville Rd. Crownsville, MD
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