Maundy Thursday 2015, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion: “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben”

You don’t get a ton of commentary from me today, just one of the most consummately beautiful and reflective moments in the Passion. If you watched the entire clip of the second recitative yesterday, this comes shortly after. The crowd demands that Jesus be crucified, and Pilate asks, “What evil hath he done?”

A soprano soloist has a recitative listing how Jesus has done good to all of us, made the lame to walk, given sight to the blind, and received sinners—that this is all Jesus has done.

And then a somber flute (again with no continuo) paces out an introduction to begin a duet with the soprano. When the voice comes in, she  sings, “Out of love is my Savior willing to die.” Listen to the affectionate notes that turn around the word Liebe or “love.”

The clip posted here is long, but the aria itself is only about five minutes. After this aria comes more discussion between Pilate and the crowd and another alto recitative and aria asking for mercy and meditating on the sorrow of the occasion and the wounds of Jesus.


Out of love my Savior is willing to die,
Though he knows nothing of any sin,
So that eternal ruin
And the punishment of judgment
May not rest upon my soul.

[Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben,/  Von einer Sünde weiß er nichts./  Daß das ewige Verderben/ Und die Strafe des Gerichts/ Nicht auf meiner Seele bliebe.]


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