John Middleton - St John Passion (Oratorio)

St John Passion (Oratorio)


Solo voices, SATB chorus and orchestra

Recording, download - 6.17MB

click here

Score, download - 0.18MB

John Middleton - St John Passion (Oratorio)

Other Information

Prelude (Raising of Lazarus); Passion; Epilogue (appearances after Resurrection).

I wrote this oratorio, with a text based on the Revised Standard Version of St John s Gospel, in memory of my friend, the Rev John Walker, with whom I used to perform folk and gospel music.

One of the numbers we used to do was I am the Resurrection by Ray Repp. I have used the refrain, with Ray s kind permission, as a motif running through the whole work. The link takes you to the last movement in which his refrain is prominent. It is a live recording from the premi re performance.

The premi re was on Saturday 23rd March 2013 and the review [29th March 2013] of the concert from the Loughborough Echo is below left and also below in readable text.

The performers at the premi re were:The Ivanhoe Festival Ensemble:

Musical Director Kate King; Clarinet Bob Greenlees; Cello Chris Dunn; Midi Keyboard Chris Hill.

The Ivanhoe Festival Singers [with the roles they also sang]:

SOPRANOS Clare Proctor [Martha, the sister of Lazarus], Kathryn Greenlee [Mary, the other sister, & Maid], Rebekah Broad;

ALTOS Irene Goodrich [Mary Magdalen], Helen Shacklock, Cathryn Vindelis;

TENORS Lyndon Gardner [Jesus & Vocal Advisor], Adrian Dobson [Pontius Pilate], John Bassford [Peter], Martin Vindelis [Judas & the other Judas];

BASSES David Henshaw [Thomas], Barry Smith [John], Gerry Brennan [Soldier], Stephen Foster [the Voice of God & Caiaphas].

The front cover of the programme features: Noli me tangere - miniature fresco by Erica Middleton, after Fra Angelico, which is shown in the column on the left.

A double CD of the live performance is available for 8 (+ 1.50 p&p)- please e-mail me if you are interested:

Ray Repp s response to hearing the final track of the recording:

All I can say is "WOW Really moving. I m very impressed. Thanks for sending this, and I wish you the best of luck in finding a greater audience.

Review of "St John Passion

It is always a privilege to hear a new composition for the first time as, on this occasion, it was a unique opportunity to hear how the composer, in this case John Middleton from Quorn, fashioned his work to present the familiar story of Christ s Passion in a innovative and thought-provoking way. John Middleton s episodic structure was effective in that the scenes, in three sections: Prologue, Passion and Epilogue, combined rather like an opera to present a coherent narrative. Inevitably, though, such an oratorio requires complete understanding of the text and in the over-resonant acoustic of Trinity Church, Royland Road, it was very difficult to hear what the performers were singing about. Fortunately there were bibles in every seatback so many in the audience followed the story and some of the text in an alternative version. This was a shame as the composer was well served by his performers. Individually there were many moments of beauty but it was as an ensemble that they came into their own. The textural contrasts between soloists and ensembles and the instrumentalists worked very well indeed but the choral writing (especially in the Arrest and Fishing scenes) was particularly well balanced with some intense harmonies. A few soloists were underused but, for me, the three that stood out were Irene Goodrich [Mary Magdalene] for her clarity and huge range, Adrian Dobson [Pilate] for his dramatic interpretation and good diction and John Bassford [Peter] for his sympathetic portrayal. Lyndon Gardner, as Jesus, was barely off the platform and he coped quite well with the taxing lines. He really understands how to interpret John Middleton s music, as does the musical director Kate King who directed the small but excellent three-player ensemble with aplomb. Less successful were the virtual orchestra sections which, whilst accompanied by appropriate visual imagery, were musically vibrant but suffered in the synthesised sounds of the instruments especially the strings and percussion. Nevertheless the appreciative audience, on an appallingly cold and snowy night for a concert, showed the warmth of their appreciation for an important world premi re by a Leicestershire composer in the heart of Loughborough. It is a powerful story, tellingly told.

David Fisher

John Middleton - St John Passion (Oratorio)

John Middleton - St John Passion (Oratorio)