Written for the Choir of Wells Cathedral, of which Matthew Owens is Organist and Master of the Choristers, this setting of the St Matthew Passion is ideally suited to liturgical performance during Holy Week. The principal role of the Evangelist is taken by a baritone soloist, who narrates the story of Christ's trial and Crucifixion in unaccompanied chant. The other, smaller, solo roles of Judas (tenor), Pilate (tenor), Jesus (bass), and Pilate's wife (alto) continue in the same vein, with four-part choral interspersions from the crowds, soldiers, and priests providing a contrast in texture. The hymn 'When I survey the wondrous cross', set to the Rockingham hymn tune, appears twice throughout the work, and the congregation are encouraged to join in on both occasions. The simple organ part supports the voices for the hymn, and may also optionally double the choir during the narrative.
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