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; The Dorking Halls was built to house the Festival and opened in 1931; 'Song for a Spring Festival', written by RVW to celebrate the Festival's 50th year, may only be performed at the Festival; RVW retired as Festival Conductor in 1953, but continued to conduct the St Matthew Passion until 1958; Whilst living in Dorking, RVW composed works including Serenade to Music, Symphonies 4 - 7 and The Pilgrim's Progress; RVW conducted the first combined choirs concert at the Festival on 10 May 1905; The first competition day at the Festival exclusively for children was held in 1921; In 1934 the BBC broadcast part of the Festival performance of Dream of Gerontius; The first Festival performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1931 had 800 singers;

Leith Hill Musical Festival
Bringing choirs together
for competitions and concerts in Dorking since 1905

Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets

Bach's St John Passion

Text Changes

We are using the 'Old Novello' edition of the score, edited by Ivor Atkins. Despite this being an excellent English-language version of the text (mainly drawn from the King James version of the Bible), the Festival has made the following changes to improve it further over the years.  Please apply these changes to your score.

The changes to numbers 40 and 65 are also attached here as a full-score pdf file which may be printed (at A4 size), cut in half, and then stuck over the old versions on pages 87 and 139.

No.7 (page 25)

Replace 'O mighty love' with

'O generous love'

No. 15 (page 42)

Replace 1st verse with

O Lord who dares to smite Thee,

And falsely to indict Thee,

Deride and mock Thee so!

Thou needest not confession

Who knoweth not transgression,

As we and all our children know.

No. 27 v 2 (page 61)

Replace 'requite' with


No. 40 (page 87)

Replace with

Thy bonds, O Son of God most high

Have perfect freedom bought us

And free, we to Thy throne come nigh

As Thou, by grace, has taught us.

Hadst Thou disdained this bondage sore

We had been bound for evermore.

No. 46 (page 96)

Replace 'We, We, we have'  with

'King, King, we have'

No. 60 (page 127/8)

Replace ' Thy wages were' with

'is due to Thee'

No. 65 (page 139)

Replace after 'temptation' with

Knowing how Thou cam'st to die,

May we learn to suffer

May we now, tho' poor and weak,

Prayer and praises offer.

Stands and Sits

Page 1 - at beginning

STAND on signal

Page 28 - after no. 10

SIT on signal

Page 39 - after no.13

STAND on signal

Page46 - no. 19, on first note


Page 51 - at start of 2nd bar


Page 51 - at end of Part 1

SIT on signal (briefly)

Page 52 - at beginning of Part 2

STAND on signal

Page 64 - after no. 30

SIT on signal

Page 67 - end of bar before 'A' 2nd time (this will be 'Fine')

STAND on signal

Page 97 - after no. 47

SIT (no. 48 sing seated)

Page 104 - after no. 48

STAND on signal

Page 116 - no. 57, on 1st beat of bar 3


Page 121 N.B.

(no. 60 sing seated)

Page 136 - after no. 63

STAND on signal

Page 149 - at end of Part 2

SIT on signal