The Passion..
25th - 26th March 2002

The Passion has two dimensions - divine and human. Divine, because it is about God, who descended on earth and offered himself for people. The secret of a perfect God, who becomes imperfect because of love to those, who are imperfect, is present in every phrase of Bach's music. Bach's genius turns "Passion" into a non-human music. Its tones seem to open a broader perspective than the human one. Particularly the arias seem to be a way of conversation with God, a conversation, in which the presence of God or something divine may be felt, heard. The likes of "Erbarme Dich" or "Aus Liebe" go far beyond our everyday experiences. They are nearly a proof, that there is a different world, however we would like to call it.

The Passion's secondo dimension is the human one. Human, for it is about a man. A good teacher, who became given away to the sinners' hands, humiliated, downtrodden, ridiculed and finally - killed, dying a disgraceful death of a slave. Why did it happen like this? One could think, that some people could not stand the lightness, in which they could notice their own disadvantages. One of Passion's pivotal moments is Pilatus's question "What did he do wrong?". Bach's music gives an answer with a heavenly voice "He never did anything wrong. He dies because of love to the people".

In my opinion the Passion gets to people not only on a religious ground, for it has a strictly human dimension. Christ's torment is a drama of a man, who must die innocent. Other people take part in this drama, those who are involved in his history and commit to its tragic fulfillment. So there is Judas - traitor, Peter, eager and loving, yet weak in the crucial moment, Caiphas - blind and devoted to the tradition, Pilatus - implicated in the machinery of power, which commands him to disregard his own conscience. And there is a furious crowd, desiring innocent blood, incapable of bearing the lightness and patience of the man, who turns the other cheek. In "St. Mathew's Passion" there is more humanity than we could expect from a religious piece. And how human Jesus is - sad and apprehended in the Garden, angry at sleeping students, taking the chalice with courage, proud in front of Caiphas and doubting in the moment of death. So the Passion is as much a story about God, as a story about a man. A story about the greatest secret - about death leading to life. When after Evangelist's words "And He expired" the cellist plays two raw tones; they sound like the last sighs of a dying man, like a synthesis of death at all. And thus, thanks to these two dimensions, the Passion is an extraordinary, unprecedented and brillant piece.

If it was hardly possible to write the Passion, how impossible it was to perform this piece! We are facing such a greatness, that the only solution is to have humility. I think this humility was the greatest virtue of the conductor, Marcin Sompoliński, in his approach towards this piece. Each one of us, who took part in this story - whether playing in an orchestra or singing in a choir, as well as the soloist - gave as much to the listeners, as much humility one had towards this music. Participation in Passion - for that is how one should call this performance as well as listening to this piece - was a great experience. Everyone experienced it in a different way and it is not easy to talk about it. During two concerts and during work on Passion, we barely touched a fragment, a single aspect of this music. But I think that each of us will remember the fact, that during rehearsals and concerts one has participated in the great Secret. And each of us has derived some part of it for him - or herself.

(by Mateusz Stróżyński)

Audition for a Choir

Joanna Piech-Sławecka - conductor's assistant
tel. 604 525 554; 
e-mail: jps(@)

Rehearsals Dom Studencki Hanka
Tuesdays: 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm (women), 8.00 - 10.00 pm (men)
Thursdays: 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm (together)

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