Classical Music For This Holy Week

On this Holy week where the two great religions of Judaism and Christianity celebrate Passover and Easter, respectively, I thought it appropriate to find some classical music to enjoy for all.

The Jewish Holiday of Passover begins at sundown Wednesday night April 5, 2023 and will last until Thursday April 13 at sundown. 

There are some moving classical music pieces for Passover:

One is by the Jewish Czech late Romantic/20th Century composer, Erich Korngold; his Passover Psalm that he composed in 1941.  Arnold Schoenberg, the post Romantic modern Jewish composer from Austria wrote the opera Moses and Aron, about the Exodus. The great Baroque composer, and a religious Christian, George Frederick Handel, also composed a piece about the Exodus, his oratorio, Israel In Egypt. Felix  Mendelssohn, while an early Romantic composer, composed his oratorio Elijah, the old testament prophet mentioned in the Passover Seder, in the Baroque style.

The sacred Christian Holiday of Easter is on this Sunday, April 9, 2023.

Handel’s most famous and beloved oratorio was his iconic, “Messiah”, which I had thought was more appropriate for Christmas, as that is when you most hear it played in concert halls across America; but looking into it, I learned that Handel originally composed this piece to be played for Easter.

There is also other classical music compositions appropriate for Easter, just a few of which are J.S. Bach’s St. John’s and St. Matthew’s Passion and his Easter Cantatas.  

Franz Joseph Haydn’s Stabat Mater was a cantata representing a Catholic hymn about the suffering of Mary during Jesus crucifixion, and the Romantic composer Nicoli Rimsky-Korsakov composed his Russian Easter Overture. 

Please turn up the volume and enjoy these wonderful pieces of music composed for Passover and Easter.

Felix Mendelssohn:  Elijah, “He Watching Over Israel”:

Erich W. Korngold: Passover Psalm:

George F. Handel: Israel in Egypt, ‘The Lord Shall Reign Forever and Ever’:

J.S. Bach: St. John’s Passion, “Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine” & Choral final:

J.S. Bach Easter Oratorio,“Kommt, eilet und laufet:

George F. Handel: ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from “Messiah”:

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all who celebrate these holidays on this Holy Week.

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