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Published on Jun 1, 2014
Kathleen Ferrier sings "Erbarme dich" ("Have mercy, Lord, on me") from Matthäus Passion (St. Matthew Passion) by Johann Sebastian Bach.
This is an aria for contralto accompanied by solo violin, strings (2 violins and 1 viola), and basso continuo.
The oratorio Matthäuspassion (BWV 244) was first performed (as far as historians can determine) on April 11, 1727, in Leipzig (the great composer Richard Wagner was born there on May 22, 1813, around the time Napoleon lost a battle here, which sealed Napoleon's fate, forcing him to abdicate).
I find the aria to be haunting, knowing it well from The Gospel According to St. Matthew, the 1964 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.