Saxophone feature based on the Passion Chorale

This timeless melody by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), is now chiefly remembered because of its inclusion in J S Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, (hence its title) where it is treated to a variety of rich harmonisations. It is mostly sung to Paulus Gerhardt’s words, O Sacred head! sore wounded

This setting features alto and tenor saxophones, who first play a lyrical descant to the famous hymn tune and then the melody itself, against a Bach-like obbligato in the upper woodwinds.