Palm Sunday

Bach Cantata Day Information:
Palm Sunday or Palmarum

Sunday before Easter. Liturgical period : Lent.

Occurrences: March 24 2024, April 13 2025, March 29 2026, March 21 2027, April 9 2028, March 25 2029, April 14 2030, April 6 2031, March 21 2032, April 10 2033, April 2 2034, March 18 2035, April 6 2036, March 29 2037.

Music for this day

  • Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182
    (first performance 25 March 1714, Weimar period)
  • Passio secundum Joannem, BWV 245
    (first performance 7 april 1724, Leipzig period)
  • Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1
    (first performance 25 March 1725, Leipzig period)

Palm Sunday or Palmarum is the Sunday before Easter. This day still falls under Tempus Clausum, but luckily we have two cantatas for this day, both from years when Palm Sunday fell on the day of Annunciation (March 25th), the only day during Lent when music was permitted in mass in Leipzig.

So I can present the two cantates created for Annunciation: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1 and Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182, a cantata from the Weimar period. You can read more information about these cantatas in my post for Annunciation:

But because Annunciation is so close to Palm Sunday, I've added something else to this day's playllist. In 1899 Willem Mengelberg, conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra, first performed the Matthaeus Passion on Palm Sunday at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This tradition continues to this day, with a yearly performance on Palm Sunday not only of the Matthaeus but also the Johannes Passion.

For many years, together with close family, I attended that performance in Amsterdam, which for me was always very emotional. So I've added the Johannes Passion to the playlist, less known and performed than the Matthaeus, but equally deserving. I'm presenting the 1724 version, but Bach made minor changes to it several times later on.

To be clear and accurate, the Johannes Passion was first performed on Good Friday 1724, but on Good Friday I'm already presenting you the Matthaeus... And 2 passions on one day may be a bit too much, no?

Extra information

The Netherlands Bach Society website has more information and a performance of BWV 245, the Johannes Passion:


WBC25-Palm Sunday or Palmarum

Playlist cover on Spotify

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Image of the day

The Entry into Jerusalem, 14th century painting by Giotto (c.1267-1337).

The Entry into Jerusalem, 14th century painting by Giotto (c.1267-1337).