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Many consider Johann Sebastion Bach as the greatest musician who ever lived; many consider his St. Matthew Passion as the greatest choral music ever written; many consider the Aria Have mercy, Lord, on me with it�s themes of betrayal and forgiveness as the central philosophy in the suffering and passion of our Lord. The Aria immediately follows the Recititive in which as predicted by Jesus, Peter denies him thrice with the words � I know not the man.� Peter went out and wept bitterly at his betrayal. The Chorale, which follows, pleads forgiveness with the words �Lord to Thee I come again, Thy forgiveness is assured me thru Thy son�s despair and pain�.
In the original score the Aria is scored for Alto and strings with a violin solo, organ and continuo; in this arrangement I have given the Alto�s music to the great Alto singer of the string section, a solo viola, and added a solo violin thus enlarging the ensemble to a sextet, and dispensed with the organ. In the Chorale, which Bach scores for double chorus, I have doubled the solo violin and solo viola parts to first violin and viola respectively to add weight. I have included the full text of both the Aria and the Chorale at the beginning of my score.
Reviews of BACH, J.S. - Have mercy, Lord - from the St. Matthew Passion - arr. for String Sextet by Gerald Manning
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