Under the dome, in the Cathedral of Berlin. Image by Fosie (cc) Editor's Desk / Editor’s Choice

Follow Your Passion!

March ends with the holiest week in the Christian religious calendar, and around Europe, classical music fans can hear some of the most glorious sacred music of the classical repertoire. The extraordinary biblical story of Easter has inspired composers since the beginning of Christianity, and the results are a bounty for audiences of all backgrounds.

Ostern in Berlin

Karfreitag, or Good Friday, is a national holiday in Germany, as in most of Europe, and although Berlin is not a particularly church-going city, there is an ample supply of sacred music to mark the Easter weekend. Hear Bach’s “Passion According to St. John” at the Konzerthaus Berlin, performed by the city’s foremost chorus, the RIAS Kammerchor. On Easter Sunday, the Berliner Dom offers the lofty atmosphere for Händel’s joyful oratorio, “The Messiah”.

Paques à Paris

Parisians are not known for their religious fervor, but here, too, the Holy Week calendar is full of sacred music. Catch an all-star rendition of Bach’s “Passion According to St. John” at Thèâtre des Champs-Elysées, with Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist and the Baroque specialists of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Pasen in Amsterdam

For a festive Easter Sunday without revisiting the Passion story, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw hosts a morning performance of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos”. The award-winning Hofkapelle München offers a historically informed interpretation led by Rüdiger Lotter.

Húsvét Budapesten

In Budapest, the Hungarian Radio Choir and Baroque ensemble Capella Savaria mark Holy Week at the Palace of Arts with Händel’s lesser-known Easter oratorio, “Brockes Passion”. On Easter Sunday, the Liszt Academy hosts a performance of Buxtehude’s somber and moving “Membra Jesu Nostri” cantata cycle. The seven sections describe seven sections of the crucified Christ’s body.

Credits:Under the dome, in the Cathedral of Berlin. Image by Fosie (cc)

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