Chicago Bach Project 2012: St. John Passion

St. John Passion, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Photo: Edward Ingold  


Johann Sebastian Bach

St. John Passion, BWV 245

April 4, 2012

Long after the last note faded, the last claps diminished, and the pews emptied, resonances of the glorious music made on April 4, 2012, continued. Soli Deo Gloria's second annual Chicago Bach Project presentation, Bach's dramatic St. John Passion, conducted by SDG's Artistic Director, John Nelson, left an imprint on all who heard it.





"SDG's Encore Passion Powerful"- Clef Notes: Chicagoland Journal for the Arts

"In this second installment of the Chicago Bach Project’s annual celebration ... Nelson did not stop at the mere creation of great music ... At its core, Bach’s Passion was meant to communicate the depth and weight of powerful sacred texts. And Wednesday evening, Maestro Nelson honored a grateful St. Vincent’s audience with a performance that brilliantly served that vital purpose.

"Nelson led a cohesive period ensemble with a bold observation of Bach's rich, sonorous textures, while delicately layering its voices ... His phrasing was poignant, using tempo and careful dynamic delineation to set a brisk framework for Bach's baroque structure ... The Chicago Bach Project chorus was a poignant foundation throughout the evening. Nelson aptly pulled out warmth and pathos from the ensemble and balanced it with brisk tempi and crisp articulation, reveling in Bach’s warmest and most somber harmonies."—Fred Cummings

  John Nelson conducting the St. John Passion, Photo: Edward Ingold

"A performance worthy of a timeless masterpiece"—Chicago Tribune

"[T]he performance was worthy of a timeless masterpiece that remains at once a monumental expression of Protestant religious belief and a deeply moving human drama ... the 26-voice 'Chicago Bach Choir,' as it was called – prepared by former Lyric Opera chorus director Donald Nally – sang with discipline and expressivity.

"Nelson's long experience as an interpreter of Bach's sacred choral music was evident in the firm yet flexible control he exerted throughout. The drama of Christ's Passion and death moved swiftly when it needed to but always there was enough breathing room for the music to take on a comforting glow, particularly in the Lutheran chorales in which the congregation reflects on each turn of events."—John von Rhein


"Moving and beautifully done."

"Tremendous in every respect."

"Not just a musical experience but a spiritual experience."

"WFMT's streaming audio and SDG's program notes and text made listening at home a delight."

"Magnificent. When it was finished, I was wishing that you could start all over again. I have never experienced a piece of music like I did that one."

"A truly exceptional event: the choral music was as close to sublime as it gets, this side of heaven."


John NELSON, conductor
Nicholas PHAN, Evangelist
Stephen MORSCHECK, Jesus
Kendra COLTON, soprano
Meredith ARWADY, contralto
Marc MOLOMOT, tenor
Matthew BROOK, bass
CHICAGO BACH Choir and Orchestra
Donald NALLY, chorus master

Saint Vincent de Paul Church
1010 W. Webster Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614


The concert was broadcast live by Chicago's classical music radio station, 98.7WFMT-FM and streamed live via WFMT's website and smart phone apps.

Click to read more about the history of the Chicago Bach Project.

The 2012 Chicago Bach Project is made possible in part through support from
Fellowes, Inc.,Martin Avenue Pharmacy and Tassos.