Chapter

<i>The</i> St. Matthew Passion <i>Revival</i>

Jeffrey S. Sposato

in The Price of Assimilation

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195149746
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870783 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149746.003.0003
The St. Matthew Passion Revival

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This chapter explores Felix Mendelssohn's 1829 revival of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion (Matthaus-Passion). Musicologist Michael Marissen has argued that in preparing for the revival, Mendelssohn cut Bach's work to remove anti-Semitic references. It is shown instead that Mendelssohn's cuts were intended to make the work more accessible to a 19th-century audience that was largely unfamiliar with Bach's works. Mendelssohn's cuts were also similar to those of other Christian conductors who performed the work later, suggesting that he did not make his changes out of any lingering affinity for Judaism, or to lessen the work's anti-Semitism. Mendelssohn, in fact, was a close disciple of prominent Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, who viewed Judaism as an outdated religion.

Keywords: Johann Sebastian Bach; Matthaus-Passion; Michael Marissen; anti-Semitism; Friedrich Schleiermacher

Chapter.  7060 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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