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Good Johann is super famous for Easter music. His St. Matthew Passion is considered the epic gold standard when it comes to Easter related classical music. However — I don’t teach it to my young students. I find it’s a little heavy for them. I like Bach’s Easter Oratorio instead.
Interesting side note: The St. Matthew Passion is the piece that caused Bach to return to cultural consciousness. His music was pretty much lost after his death until the young hot-shot composer Felix Mendelssohn staged a production of the mostly forgotten St. Matthew Passion. The music world had turned its collective back on Bach. But Felix made Bach cool again. Well done, Felix!
“Sinfonia” can mean a lot of different things, but in this case it functions as an overture of sorts – a piece to set the tone for what’s to come. The remainder of the Easter Oratorio centers around four characters telling the Easter story. The four vocal parts — soprano, alto, tenor, and bass — respectively sing from the perspectives of the “Other Mary,” Mary Magdalene, Peter and John.
And if you need an explanation of what an oratorio is in the first place, here you go: it’s kind of like an opera, but with no sets, no costumes, and no moving around the stage. And the topic is almost always something from the Bible. That’s an oratorio.
Enjoy Bach’s happy Easter song! It’s great schoolwork background music!