GLENDALE — On Sunday, March 13 at 5 p.m., Lark Musical Society, under the auspices of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The piece sets to music the story of Christ’s last days on earth, leading to his crucifixion and death on the cross. His work, first performed in Leipzig, Germany on Good Friday, April 11, 1727, continues to move audiences nearly three centuries after it was first heard at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. Standing as one of the pillars of Western sacred music, it is at once monumental and intimate, deeply sorrowful and powerful.
Vatsche Barsoumian’s personal, intimate love of this major work is reflected in the enthusiasm evident in the varied soloists, orchestra and choirs. The characters are Evangelist (tenor,) Jesus (bass,) Judas (bass,) Peter (bass,) Pilate (bass,) etc. were all chosen by Barsoumian not only for the beauty of their voices, but to reflect the Biblical characters with integrity.
The first of many collaborations with the Lark Musical Society and the Armenian Missionary Association of America, was initiated in 1996 by the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, the then Executive Director of the AMAA, when the Lark Choir was invited to Paris, France to perform during the 150th celebration of the founding of the Armenian Evangelical Church. This historic event was celebrated by over 1000 guests, visiting from various parts of the world.
Barsoumian invites all to “Join us this Lenten Season and abandon yourself to the music of Bach; to his depiction of Christ on the cross, arms outstretched, ready to embrace His flock in their own spiritual ascent.”
The Biblical text, for Bach’s inspiration, is the Gospel of St. Mathew chapters 26-27. Barsoumian’s said, “Bach creates a vivid portrait of the Passion of Christ. He weaves text and music together in such a way as to transport the listener to those very moments: to see Christ with his disciples, smell and taste along with them their last meal, hear the cries of the condemning crowds, and feel each wound he receives.”
PowerPoint translations will be in German, English, and Armenian.