Soon it will be Easter

In a few weeks time it will be Easter, this year quite early, 31 March. Christians celebrate on that day the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died on the cross three days before, on Good Friday.

In this time of the year I always listen to Bach’s passion music, either going to a concert (when I am in Amsterdam), or nowadays more often, on YouTube.

In 2014 I wrote a post about the St Matthew Passion. In that post I mentioned one recording, directed by Gustav Leonhardt in 1989, where the female parts (alto & soprano) are sung by males (countertenors and boy-sopranos/altos), as was common in Bach’s time. Watching my post again, I noticed that this recording is no longer available. That happens often with YouTubes about music, mostly a matter of copyright violation.

But I found a beautiful “replacement”, a recording by the Tölzer Knabenchor & Hofkapelle München conducted by Christian Fliegner.

This is for me at the moment the most impressive performance of the St Matthew passion. Choir, Soloists, Orchestra and Conductor, everything is perfect.

An interesting detail is that Christian Fliegner began his musical career as a boy-soprano in the same Tölzer choir that he is now directing. Here is a recording (~1980s) where he is singing the aria Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben from Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

In the same blog post I wrote about Bach’s St John passion. I gave a link to a recording by Ton Koopmans, but that recording is also not available anymore on YouTube. Searching for an alternative, I found a 1985 recording by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

It fits perfectly in this blog for several reasons. In the first place because it is again an all-male performance. And the choir is the same Tölzer Knabenchor! Fliegner was born in 1976, it could well be that he was singing as a boy-soprano in the choir during the Harnoncourt recording!


I named this blog Soon it will be Easter and wrote in the opening paragraph that Easter falls early this year. How is the Easter date determined? Here is the rule:

    Determine the date of the first full moon after 21 March. Easter falls on the Sunday after that date.

    For example, this year the first full moon after 21 March falls on 25 March, a Monday. Easter is on the next Sunday, 31 March. Next year the first full moon after 21 March falls on 13 April, a Sunday. Easter is on the next Sunday, 20 April.

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