St Mark Passion, BWV 247

The St Mark Passion (German: Markus-Passion), BWV 247, is a lost Passion setting by Johann Sebastian Bach, first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 23 March 1731 and again, in a revised version, in 1744.[not verified in body] Though Bach's music is lost, the libretto by Picander is still extant, and from this, the work can to some degree be reconstructed.


Unlike Bach's earlier existing passions (St John Passion and St Matthew Passion), the Markus-Passion is probably a parody—it recycles previous works. The St Mark Passion seems to reuse virtually the whole of the Trauer Ode Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198,[1] along with the two arias from Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54. In addition, two choruses from the St Mark Passion were reused in the Christmas Oratorio. This leaves only a couple of missing arias, which are taken from other Bach works when reconstructions are attempted. However, since Bach's recitative is lost, most reconstructions use the recitatives composed for a Markus-Passion attributed to Reinhard Keiser, a work which Bach himself performed on at least two occasions, which gives a certain authenticity to things, although it could be viewed as somewhat disrespectful to Keiser's work. However, Keiser's setting starts slightly later than Bach's, which requires a small amount of composition on the part of the reconstructor.

Bach's St. Mark Passion was first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 23 March 1731. Written under the pseudonym Picander, Christian Friedrich Henrici's libretto survives in a 1732 poetry collection.[2] The Markus-Passion is a modest setting, adding to Mark chapters 14 and 15 only eight free verse arias and 16 hymn stanzas. The chorales assume greater weight owing to their higher proportional use: 16 of the 46 movements are chorales in the St Mark Passion, whereas only 13 of 68 numbers are chorales in the St Matthew Passion. Five of the Markus-Passion texts appear to match the 1727 Trauer Ode, other likely parodies include BWV 54 and BWV 120a. However, no musical material remains for the Gospel texts or turba choruses. Further, we have no knowledge of the keys and orchestration which Bach used. While the libretto specifies which chorale melodies were used, Bach's harmonizations remain uncertain.


According to Bach Digital, the Passion was scored for SATB singers, two traversos, two oboes, two oboes d'amore, a string section consisting of two violin parts and two viola parts, organ and continuo, possibly complemented by two violas da gamba and two lutes.[3]

Legend to the table
column content
1 # Number of movement according to libretto at Bach Digital website,[4] followed, between brackets, by the movement number according to Heighes's reconstruction (1995).[5]
2 Incipit Text incipit of the movement.[4]
3 Description Description of the movement.[4]
4 Text origin Origin of the text.
5 ≈BWV? Conjectured relation to other known compositions by J. S. Bach, and other pieces used in reconstructions; Chorale settings outside the BWV 253–438 range indicate settings of the hymn tune included in other known larger works not necessarily reused in or composed for BWV 247; BC D 5, or BNB I/K/2, refers to Bach's second Leipzig version of the Jesus Christus ist um unsrer Missetat willen verwundet pasticcio, containing a setting of St Mark's Passion text.[6]
Structure of St Mark Passion, BWV 247
# Incipit Description Text origin ≈BWV?
(↑up↑) — Part I —
01 (1) Geh Jesu, geh zu deiner Pein! Chorus Picander 1732, p. 49 198/01[3]
02 (2) Und nach zween Tagen war Recitative (ev.) Mark 14:01–02a
03 (2) Ja nicht auf das Fest Chorus (turba) Mark 14:02b
04 (2) Und da er zu Bethanien war Recitative (ev.) Mark 14:03–04a
05 (2) Was soll doch dieser Unrat? Chorus (turba) Mark 14:04b–05a
06 (2) Und murreten über sie Recitative (ev.) Mark 14:05b
07 (3) Sie stellen uns wie Ketzern nach Chorale "Wo Gott der Herr", v. 4 256[7] 257[8] 258[9]
08 (4) Jesus aber sprach Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:06–11
09 (5) Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht Chorale "In dich hab ich gehoffet", v. 5[10] 052/6[11] 244/32[12] 248/46[13]
10 (6) Und am ersten Tage Recitative (ev.) Mark 14:12a
11 (6) Wo willst du, dass wir hingehen Chorus (turba) Mark 14:12b
12 (6) Und er sandte seiner Jünger Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:13–19
13 (7) Ich, ich und meine Sünden Chorale "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben", v. 4 393[14]
14 (8) Er antwortete, und sprach zu Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:20–25
15 (9) Mein Heiland, dich... Aria (alto) Picander 1732, p. 52 198/05[3]
16 (10) Und da sie den Lobgesang Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:26–28 BC D 5/02a
17 (11) Wach auf, o Mensch Chorale "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort", v. 13 397[15]
18 (12) Petrus aber sagte zu ihm Recitative (ev., Peter, Christ) Mark 14:29–34 BC D 5/02b, /04a
19 (13) Betrübtes Herz sei wohlgemut Chorale "Betrübtes Herz", v. 1 428[16] 430[17]
20 (14) Und ging ein wenig fürbaß Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:35–36 BC D 5/04b
21 (15) Mach's mit mir Gott Chorale "Mach's mit mir Gott", v. 1 377[18]
21 (16) Und kam und fand sie schlafend Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:37–42 BC D 5/06a
22 (17) Er kommt, er kommt Aria (soprano) Picander 1732, p. 55 198/03[3]
23 (18) Und alsbald, da er noch redete Recitative (ev., Judas) Mark 14:43–45 BC D 5/06b
24 (19) Falsche Welt Aria (alto) Picander 1732, p. 56 054/1[3]
25 (20) Die aber legten ihre Hände Recitative (ev., Christ) Mark 14:46–49 BC D 5/08a
26 (21) Jesu, ohne Missetat Chorale "Jesu Leiden", v. 8[19] 159/5[20] 245/14,[21] /28[22]
27 (22) Und die Jünger verließen ihn Recitative (ev.) Mark 14:50–52 BC D 5/08b(a)
28 (23) Ich will hier bei dir stehen Chorale "O Haupt voll Blut", v. 6 270[23] 271[24]
(↑up↑) — Part II —
29 (24) Mein Tröster ist nicht mehr Aria (tenor) Picander 1732, p. 57 198/08[3]
30 (25) Und sie führeten Jesum Recitative (ev., testes) Mark 14:53–59 BC D 5/08b(b)–08d(a)
31 (26) Was Menschenkraft Chorale "Wo Gott der Herr", v. 2 248/28[3] 257[8]
32 (27) Und der Hohe Priester Recitative (ev., high pr.) Mark 14:60–61a BC D 5/08d(b)
33 (28) Befiehl du deine Wege Chorale "Befiehl du deine Wege", v. 1 270[23] 271[24]
34 (29) Da fragte ihn der Hohe Priester Recitative (ev., high pr., Chr., choir) Mark 14:61b–65 BC D 5/08d(c), /10a–c
35 (30) Du edles Angesichte Chorale "O Haupt voll Blut", v. 2 271[24]
36 (31) Und Petrus war danieden Recitative (ev., ancilla, Pet., choir) Mark 14:66–72 BC D 5/10c–e
37 (32) Herr, ich habe missgehandelt Chorale "Herr, ich habe", v. 1 331[25]
38 (33) Und bald am Morgen Recitative (ev., Pilate, Chr., choir) Mark 15:01–14 BC D 5/14, /16a–d
39 (34) Angenehmes Mordgeschrei! Aria (soprano) Picander 1732, p. 62 248/45[3]
39 (35) Pilatus aber gedachte Recitative (ev., choir) Mark 15:15–19 BC D 5/19a–c
40 (36) Man hat dich sehr hart Chorale "Jesu, meines Lebens Leben", v. 4
41 (37) Und da sie ihn verspottet hatten Recitative (ev.) Mark 15:20–24 BC D 5/19c, /21, /23
42 (38) Das Wort sie sollen lassen Chorale "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott", v. 4 302[26]
43 (39) Und es war um die dritte Stunde Recitative (ev., choir, Chr.) Mark 15:25–34 BC D 5/23, /25a–e, /27a–c
44 (40) Keinen hat Gott verlassen Chorale "Keinen hat Gott verlassen", v. 1 369[27]
45 (41) Und Etliche, die dabei stunden Recitative (ev., choir, miles) Mark 15:35–37 BC D 5/27c–e
46 (42) Welt und Himmel nehmt Aria (bass) Picander 1732, p. 66 007/2[3]
47 (43) Und der Vorhang im Tempel Recitative (ev., centurio) Mark 15:38–45 BC D 5/21, /33
48 (44) O! Jesu du Chorale "O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid", v. 8 404[28]
49 (45) Und er kaufte ein Leinwand Recitative (ev.) Mark 15:46–47 BC D 5/35
50 (46) Bei deinem Grab Chorus Picander 1732, p. 67 198/10[3] 244a/7[3]

Gospel partsEdit

BWV 247 contains the text of the entire chapters 14 and 15 of the Gospel of Mark, sung as recitatives, and turba choruses.


Turba chorusesEdit


Free poetryEdit

Opening and closing choral movementsEdit


Reconstructed versionsEdit

Hellmann (1964) – Koch (1999)Edit

Diethard Hellmann completed a reconstruction in 1964 based on parodies and chorale harmonization choices only. The English premiere took place in Oxford, July 1965. A 1976 edition includes additional choruses to be used with a spoken delivery of the gospel text. Carus-Verlag published Hellmann's work with newly composed recitatives and arias by Johannes Koch in 1999. The orchestration for the work matches that of BWV 198.[citation needed]


Heighes (1995)Edit

Simon Heighes's reconstruction was completed in 1995.[5]


  • Jörg Breiding for Rondeau[31]
  • A recording of Simon Heighes's reconstruction was made by the European Union Baroque Orchestra with the Ring Ensemble of Finland conducted by Roy Goodman. Rogers Covey-Crump EVANGELIST, Gordon Jones JESUS, Connor Burrowes treble, David James alto, Paul Agnew tenor, and Teppo Tolonen baritone. It was published by Brilliant Classics, recorded 25–30 March 1996 in the Chapel of New College, Oxford.[32]

Gomme (1997)Edit

Andor Gomme edited a 1997 reconstruction published by Bärenreiter that utilizes BWV 198 and choruses from BWV 204, 216, 120a, and 54. The recitatives and turba choruses are drawn from a St Mark Passion traditionally attributed to Reinhard Keiser (1674–1739), which Bach himself adapted for use in Weimar in 1713.[citation needed]


  • A recording of Gomme's reconstruction was made in 1998 by the Choir of Gonville & Caius College and the Cambridge Baroque Camerata, led by Geoffrey Webber. The recording was issued in 1999 by ASV.[33]

Kelber (1998)Edit

In 1998 Rudolf Kelber reconstructed the St Mark Passion as a pasticcio: he completed Bach's fragments using arias from cantatas by Bach, recitatives by Keiser, motives by Telemann and his own additions.[citation needed]

Koopman (1999)Edit

In 1999, Ton Koopman presented a reconstruction that does not utilize BWV 198, but instead draws on Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe, BWV 25 (opening chorus) and Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei, BWV 179 (turba choruses) and his own freely composed recitatives.[citation needed]

Recordings conducted by Ton Koopman:

  • Erato 8573-80221-2 (recorded 1999, issued 2000)[34]
  • CCDVD 72141 (DVD: live recording 2000, issued 2005)[35]

Boysen (2010)Edit

In 2010, harpsichordist and conductor Jörn Boysen made a new version utilizing choruses and arias from BWV 198 and an aria from BWV 54. He composed all missing recitatives, turba choirs and one aria. This version has been performed in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011 and 2012.[36]

Grychtolik (2010)Edit

In 2010, Alexander Ferdinand Grychtolik made a first edition of the late version of the St Mark Passion (from 1744) as a stylistically consistent reconstruction, published by Edition Peters. The text of this unknown later version was discovered in 2009 in Saint Petersburg. In this version, Bach added two arias and he made small changes in Picander's text.[37]

Eichelberger (2015)Edit

In 2015, Organist Freddy Eichelberger offered a second reconstruction of the 1744 version based on the BWV 198 and composed all missing recitatives, turba choirs and some chorals. This version was written in collaboration with the musicologist Laurent Guillo, the editor Sharon Rosner and Itay Jedlin who performed it with Le Concert Étranger at the 2015 Ambronay Festival, concert filmed by French national television.[citation needed]

Wilson-Dickson (2016)Edit

In 2016, composer and conductor Andrew Wilson-Dickson made a new stylistically coherent reconstruction using BWV 198, 7, 54 and 171, and newly composed music for the missing recitatives and turba choruses. The work was premiered by the Welsh Camerata and Welsh Baroque Orchestra at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff, on Good Friday, 2016.[38]

Fischer (2016)Edit

In 2015, church musician Andreas Fischer reconstructed the Markus Passion by parodying only works by Bach. He paid attention to the proximity of text and music and avoided using music from the known passions, so as not to produce a "small" St. Matthew Passion. Ortus (Berlin, Germany) published this work in the year 2016.[39]

Savall (2018)Edit

On 30 March 2018, Jordi Savall produced a reconstruction which aired on BBC Radio 3.[40][41]


  1. ^ Wilhelm Rust. "Vorwort" (Preface) of Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe, Vol. 20.2: Kammermusik für Gesang – Band 2. Bärenreiter, 1873, pp. VIII–IX. (in German)
  2. ^ Picander (=Christian Friedrich Henrici). Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gedichte, Volume III. Leipzig: Joh. Theod. Boetii Tochter (1732; 2nd printing 1737), pp. 49–69. (in German)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Work 00313 at Bach Digital website, 5 July 2017
  4. ^ a b c St Mark Passion (lyrics) at Bach Digital website
  5. ^ a b Eduard van Hengel. Johann Sebastian Bach: Markus-Passion (BWV 247, 1731), in de reconstructie van Simon Heighes (1995) at, 2010. (in Dutch)
  6. ^ Work 01680 at Bach Digital website, 17 October 2015
  7. ^ BWV 256 at website
  8. ^ a b BWV 257 at website
  9. ^ BWV 258 at website
  10. ^ Gottfried Vopelius (editor). Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch. Leipzig: Christoph Klinger, 1682, pp. 668–670.
  11. ^ BWV 52.6 at website
  12. ^ BWV 244.32 at website
  13. ^ BWV 248(5).46(4) at website
  14. ^ BWV 393 at website
  15. ^ BWV 397 at website
  16. ^ BWV 428 at website
  17. ^ BWV 430 at website
  18. ^ BWV 377 at website
  19. ^ Gottfried Vopelius (editor). Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch. Leipzig: Christoph Klinger, 1682, pp. 165–168.
  20. ^ BWV 159.5 at website
  21. ^ BWV 245.14 at website
  22. ^ BWV 245.28 at website
  23. ^ a b BWV 270 at website
  24. ^ a b c BWV 271 at website
  25. ^ BWV 331 at website
  26. ^ BWV 302 at website
  27. ^ BWV 369 at website
  28. ^ BWV 404 at website
  29. ^ Passione secondo San Marco (DBX1477) and Passione secondo San Marco (DBX2510) at
  30. ^ Michael Cookson (2010). "Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) St. Mark Passion, BWV 247". Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  31. ^ Johann Sebastian Bach: Markus-Passion BWV 247 Rondeau Productions
  32. ^ Markus Passion (DBX4279) and Bach Edition: Markus Passion, BWV 247 (DBX6091) at
  33. ^ Bach: St Mark Passion (DBX5292) at
  34. ^ Markus-Passion (DBX5694) at
  35. ^ Johann Sebastian Bach: Markus Passion 1731 (DBD0034) at
  36. ^ A recording from 2016 can be found online: Boysen, Jörn. "St Mark Passion - Prima Parte".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) and Boysen, Jörn. "St Mark Passion - Seconda Parte".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ Schablina, Tatjana. "Texte zur Music" in St. Petersburg – Weitere Funde, in: Bach-Jahrbuch 2009, Knabenkantorei Basel is the first Choir to record this rekonstruction p. 11–48.
  38. ^ "JS Bach's St Mark Passion - Welsh Camerata Chamber Choir". Immediate Media. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  39. ^ "om212 Johann Sebastian Bach, Markus-Passion". Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  40. ^[dead link]
  41. ^ "BBC Radio 3 - Afternoon Concert, Music for Good Friday".

Further readingEdit

  • Bärenreiter. "St. Mark Passion BWV 247."
  • Butt, John. "Reconstructing Bach." Early Music. November 1998, 673–675.
  • Carus-Verlag. "Markuspassion."
  • Koopman, Ton. "Research."
  • Neumann, Werner. Sämtliche von Johann Sebastian Bach vertonte Texte. Leipzig: VEB D eutscher Verlag für Musik, 1974.
  • Melamed, Daniel R. Hearing Bach's Passions. "Parody and Reconstruction: the Saint Mark Passion BWV 247." New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Terry, Charles Sanford. Bach: The Cantatas and Oratorios, the Passions, the Magnificat, Lutheran Masses, and Motets. Five volumes in one. New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1972.
  • Theill, Gustav Adolf. Die Markuspassion von Joh. Seb. Bach (BWV 247). Steinfeld : Salvator, 1978.

External linksEdit