Top Ten Pieces for the Easter Weekend

It has been no easy task but we at MUSI Resources have compiled a list of our top ten favourite pieces for the Easter weekend.

❤ Johann Sebastian Bach - St John Passion

The St John Passion was written during Bach’s first year as director of church music in Leipzig. First performed in 1724, the St John Passion is the oldest of the surviving passions by J.S Bach.

❤ Johann Sebastian Bach - St Matthew Passion

Written in 1727, the St Matthew Passion sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew to music. The Passion (like much of Bach’s music) was almost completely forgotten until in 1829 when Felix Mendelssohn discovered and performed a short version of the music in Berlin.  

❤ George Frideric Handel - Messiah

Handel’s Messiah was first performed around Easter time in 1742, Dublin. The Messiah was originally intended for Lent but became more popular around Christmas time during the Victorian era when it was used to revive interest in the Holiday.

❤ Gustav Mahler - Symphony 2

Symphony No. 2 (also known as the resurrection symphony) was one of Mahler’s most popular works during his lifetime. Written between 1888 and 1894, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 was voted the fifth greatest symphony of all time in a survey carried out by the BBC Music Magazine.

❤ Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Russian Easter Festival Overture

The Russian Easter Festival Overture was composed and premiered in 1888. The Overture, following Capriccio Espagnole and Sheherazade, was the last of three orchestral works that were introduced over a one year span in St Petersburg.   

❤ Arvo Pӓrt - Passio

Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem (also known as passio) is a passion setting for solo baritone, tenor and vocal quartet, choir, violin, oboe, cello, bassoon and organ by Arvo Part. Completed in 1982 and published in 1989, Part had started sketching the Passio long before - having brought the initial sketches with him when he left for Austria in 1980. Since then, the Passio has become one of Parts’ most popular works.

❤ John Tavener - As One Who Slept

Sir John Kenneth Tavener was an English composer known for his large output of religious works. As One Who Slept was written during Tavener’s most musically austere period which was coming to an end by 1996.

❤ Giovanni Battista Pergolesi - Stabat Mater

This Stabat Mater was composed in 1736 during the last weeks of Pergolesi’s life. It has become one of his most celebrated works with many composers, including Giovanni Paisiello and Joseph Eybler, creating adaptations of it.

❤ Jean L’Héritier - Surrexit pastor bonus

Jean L’Héritier was a French composer of the Renaissance, known most of all for his collection of motets (It is believed that he wrote around fifty of them). The manuscript of Surrexit pastor bonus was originally a working choir book for the Julian Chapel choir of the Vatican.

❤ Antonín Dvořák - Stabat Mater

Completed in 1877, Dvořák first began working on this cantata after the death of his daughter, Josefa. Stabat Mater is Antonín Dvořák’s first religious work.