The Passion of the Easter Bunny? Not according to Bach

Always wondered: Good Friday marks the day Jesus was crucified, right? So what’s so good about it?

Turns out it’s actually “Pious” Friday, as in holy, which explains why it’s such a sombre day for many people, those many people being pious Christians who might rather celebrate this special day that marks the birth of their entire religion 2,011 years ago by praying rather than partying. Man, who wouldn’t? The Jews, meanwhile, are celebrating the altogether less sombre Passover (through April 26), which marks the story of the Exodus when Moses freed the Jews from slavery 3,321 years ago.

Heavy times call for heavy measures – and you’ll find few heavier measures than in the sheet music for J.S. Bach’s Passion According to St. John, being performed tonight in the Winspear Centre at 7:30 by the redoubtable Pro Coro Choir.

This choir is the real deal, retro-Renaissance-wise, and their choice of material is of course perfect – a musical interpretation of the Crucifixion. Others have done it, but few so passionately, as it were, than Bach. For those interested in some richer history behind the piece, come 45 minutes early for a talk with Marg Daly, Master of Musicology. Tickets to this show start at $32, on sale here, at the door if any are left, or call 780.428.1414.

Eighteenth Century music critics loved Bach’s most famous religious work, as loving it was required by law, describing it as “powerfully meditative … both sombre and emotionally stirring … a beautiful addition to your Easter weekend.” Just kidding: Those quotes were actually from the Winspear’s blurb on the event. We have no idea if there were any music critics in the 18th Century. Perhaps they were all burned at the stake. Hey, it sure beats being forced to watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Suffering for our sins is one thing, but that sick movie made Saw III look like Bambi.

Let’s end this sombre holiday yarn with a bit from the late comedian Bill Hicks. It’s Jesus talking to His Dad in Heaven about why He’s taking so long with His Second Coming (profanities have been censored out of respect for Good Friday):

“Dad, they’re still wearing crosses. No, I’m not going. So many bad memories. No, they totally missed the point. No way, I won’t go. Forget it. OK … I’ll go back as a bunny.”