Johann Sebastian Bach, St. John’s Passion

ha’atelier Version

2005-2016 (ongoing)

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion ha’atelier Version

Aria libretto: A.S.Bruckstein and Ruth HaCohen
Musical Adaption: A.S. Bruckstein and Sidney Corbett

This is an ongoing project on baroque passion music that seeks international venues for performance.

If you are interested to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John’s passion ha’atelier version, please contact: [email protected]

March 23, 2012 / “Unleashing Musical Passions: Updating Bach, or Defacing Him?“   
A new version of St John’s Passion, featuring medieval Jewish and Muslim poetry, and 20th century poetry

Three Jewish intellectuals — a philosopher, a composer, and a musicologist — have replaced some of Bach’s texts with their own selections of [medieval] Jewish and Muslim poetry, some liturgical excerpts, and poetry of the 20th century. On March 23, 2012, the new version was performed in Berlin’s Dom, the capital’s cathedral. Some members of the congregation are calling it “musical sacrilege.”

The ha’atelier version focuses on the arias including poetry by Paul Celan and Else Lasker-Schüler, translations of Yehuda Halevy, Rumi’s Rubayyat, extracts from the Yom Kippur liturgy, and a passage from biblical Lamentations. These are sung in German, to the original music of Bach’s arias. “They are correspondences to Bach’s texts, not contrasts,” Bruckstein says.

Reactions to the project have been emotional. At a seminar devoted to the project on March 13 at Berlin’s Humboldt University, angry members of the Dom parish said they would rather leave the congregation than tolerate any tinkering with their cultural heritage. Others complained about the intrusion of political correctness into the realm of art.


BACH’S PASSIONS of the Bach House Eisenach in the Berliner Dom, February 14 – April 7, 2013,
curated by Jörg Hansen, celebrating the acquisition of the legendary Mendelssohn’s St. Matthew’s score for the performance in Berlin March 11, 1829 by Bach House Eisenach, with full coverage of ha’atelier’s version St. John’s passion on display in photos, audios, and score.