John Passion - Dunedin Consort - The New York Times

This music, by the Slovenian composer Jacobus Handl (1550-91), gripped its listeners from its first performance. The Latin words are wrenching: “Behold how the just one dies and no one feels it in their heart.” I love the way both halves end with the phrase “and his memory will be in peace” — the voices reaching up lovingly before drawing inward to a tender close.

When Catholics in 1590s Prague tried this motet out as part of their Good Friday services, it was scrawled in a diary that it had moved their emotions “in a marvelous way.” They evidently weren’t alone: People continued to perform it long after it was written, an exceptional fate for music composed in the 16th century. In Bach’s Leipzig, it was sung on Good Friday as the “last movement” of the Passion — a context recreated in a recording with the Dunedin Consort, directed by John Butt.

The New York Times
06 April 2022