The St Luke Passion (German: Lukas-Passion), BWV 246,
is a Passion setting formerly attributed to Johann
Sebastian Bach. It is included in the BWV catalog under
the number 246. Now it appears in the catalogues under
the heading apocryphal or anonymous.
A surviving manuscript of the St Luke Passion from
about 1730 is partly in Bach's hand, though scholars
believe that the music is certainly not his own.
Presumably Bach performed it, or intended to perform
it, in Leipzig. C. P. E. Bach and Agricola may have
mistaken it for a work of Bach's and thus included it
in their census. Of course, given his delight in
exhaustive cycles, Bach should have composed a St Luke
Passion. Apparently J. S. Bach took the anonymous St
Luke Passion and arranged it for four voices, chorus,
orchestra, and continuo to meet an urgent deadline for
Good Friday in 1730.
With regard to the authorship of the passion, Felix
Mendelssohn commented in a letter to Franz Hauser who
had just paid a large sum of money to purchase the
Lukaspassion: "I am sorry to hear you have given so
much money for the St. Luke Passion." Mendelssohn
repudiated Bach's authorship of the work upon the
evidence of a single chorale, 'Weide mich und mach'
mich satt' (No. 9). He continued, "No doubt, as an
authentic autograph, it would be worth the price. But
it is not by Bach. You ask, 'On what grounds do you
maintain your opinion?' I answer, on intrinsic
evidence, though it is unpleasant to say so, since it
is your property. But just look at the chorale, 'Weide
mich und mach' mich satt'! If that is by Sebastian, may
I be hanged! It certainly is in his handwriting, but it
is too clean. Evidently he copied it. 'Whose is it?'
you ask; 'Telemann, or M. Bach, or Altnichol?' Jung
Nichol or plain Nichol, how can I tell? It's not by
Bach. Probably it is of North German origin."
I created this arrangement of the Chorale: "Nun ruh'
Erlöser in der Gruft" (Now rest, Redeemer, in the tomb)
for Classical Guitar