St. Mark Passion (Wood)

St. Mark Passion (Wood)

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St. Mark Passion (Wood)

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The St. Mark Passion (full title: The Passion of Our Lord According to Saint Mark) of Charles Wood is a musical composition written in 1920. The work calls for solo tenor (Evangelist), solo baritone (Jesus), chorus and organ, as well as minor roles for five solo bass (Judas, High Priest, Peter, Pilate, Bystander), a solo treble (Maid), and a solo treble or alto (Maid II). It was composed while Wood was employed at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and lasts on average around an hour.


Sometime during Eastertide 1920, the Revd Dr Eric Milner-White, recovering in the Cambridge Nursing Home after an appendicitis operation, wrote a letter to Charles Wood, asking for him to consider a possible collaboration on a new piece of service music. As Dean of King's College, Cambridge, he had been asked by the school to provide more Passion music for the Easter season. He explains in the letter to Wood: the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach would be too unwieldy for their resources, and the Bach cantatas would be theologically inappropriate. John Stainer's The Crucifixion (1887) had been regularly performed during Passiontide in Anglican Churches in England, and Milner-White was anxious to provide an alternative to the popular work.

Milner-White's ideas for a Passion cantata based on the Gospel of Mark divide the Passion into its five traditional parts, termed "Lessons": the Last Supper, Gethsemane and Betrayal, the...
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