Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) composed St. Matthew’s Passion, BWV 244, in the 1720s and it is believed that the first performance took place on April 11, 1727 at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. The music arranged here for Flute Quartet is the heart-wrenching aria, “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben,” extracted from the middle of the second part of the work. To set the scene, the aria comes after Jesus has been presented to the multitudes in a fast a furious, rowdy double orchestra and choir exclamation; and is condemned to death by crucifixion. Out of this outcry, the solitary flautist and soprano singer reflect on the question of sin, judgement and punishment. In this most hauntingly vulnerable aria, Bach manages to find both beauty and fragility to reflect upon this question. Using the parts provided, this arrangement can be performed as either a quartet with 3 C Flutes and Alto Flute, or as a quartet with 3 Alto Flutes and Bass Flute. For the latter, the Alto Flutes are to play the original C Flute parts, and the Bass Flute plays the supplemental part provided.


  • 3 C Flutes
  • Alto Flute

Alternate Instrumentation:

  • 3 Alto Flutes
  • Bass Flute