How is it that a full scale, major work of Handel’s can still come as a surprise in 2019?

It is really quite unfathomable why this great masterpiece has dropped off the radar. The dominance of the two JS Bach Passions as prime choices for Holy Week performance is one reason, coupled with a general laziness and fear by halls and promoters to try something new. I hope that this issue can be redressed with our efforts to make Handel’s Passiona front-runner in future. It deserves better treatment and to be performed more regularly.

Richard Egarr. Photo © Marco Borggreve

How was the work received in 1719, and why did it drop off of people’s radars?

Handel’s Brockes-Passion was extremely well appreciated when it was first performed. It was also copied by JS Bach inspiring him to write his own St John Passion; there are a number of unmistakeable ideas that Bach took from Handel’s Passion.

Many people set a “Brockes-Passion”, but what is special about Handel’s approach to the text?

Handel responds, as always, in a direct, human and passionate manner. He must have loved the Brockes text which is so extreme and extraordinary. Handel’s...