The complete B Minor Mass was first heard in Leipzig, Germany, in 1859. (Of course, all this assumes that Bach intended the Mass for actual performance which, we have already suggested, might not be true, as he may have written the work for idealized forces only in his imagination.) Robert Shaw sidesteps the issue, stating that no matter when the fragments may have been composed, they comprise a textual and musical unity reflecting Bach's unwavering religious conviction and his staggering musical craftsmanship. but presumably a young Walter Legge) spared no feeling, calling it simply "the greatest choral work ever written" – high praise indeed in a country that so highly reveres that genre (but perhaps only parroting an advance HMV publicity blast that had proclaimed: "This set of records is in many ways the greatest achievement in the history of the gramophone."). It begins and ends with paired choruses (the first movement in a sober antique style and the last in a festive modern style, both representing aspects of the Father), surrounding tender arias (movements 2 and 6) presenting the other members of the Trinity, and surmounted by central choruses (movements 3 and 5) depicting Christ's time on earth, with the Crucifixus (movement 4) at the very center, so as to represent the cornerstone of Christian faith. In that regard, the B Minor Mass was consistent with Luther's underlying theology, since, as Philipp Spitta put it, Luther was not a foe of Catholicism but a development grown from the same soil. Although the choir is large and the instruments modern, this recording paved the way toward more recent scholarly versions with crisp articulation, precise balances and lucid sound. Thus, after its initial chords and orchestral fugal introduction the opening Kyrie begins with a vocal quartet and evolves into a full chorus, adding cumulative weight in this way rather than through an escalation of volume alone, as is routinely done. [T]hese eight sides give the curious listener a fascinating glimpse into Bach as his music was understood in England before the Second World War and before the revival of interest in the 'correct' performance of early music took hold." In a sense, this was a matter of political expediency, as the Saxon court had become Catholic only in 1697 and many of its officials were Lutheran. As you probably know Suzuki is part way through a cycle of Bach Cantatas which are getting fantastic reviews, and when the cycle is finally complete (a little way off admittedly as he is only on Volume 36 of what I imagine will get up to somewhere near 60) I think it may well become ‘the’ version to have. Generally steadfast, Enescu relaxes the tempos at the end of each major section and adds a unique personal touch by softening and trailing off the massive final chord. A. Fuller): Towe, Teri Noel – article in Alan Blythe, ed. Sections that were specifically composed to complete the Mass in the late 1740s include the "Et incarnatus est" part of the Credo. Although the reduced instrumental ensemble (presumably a pick-up group) tends to be submerged beneath the full chorus, the solo singers and instruments are carefully balanced, with sonorities light and precise, tempos are sensible and comfortable (after a swift opening Kyrie) and the performers sound tight and precise. The first complete rendition, albeit of separate sections spread out over several years, is thought to have begun in 1811 by the Berlin Singakademie. Never performed during Bach’s lifetime, the Mass in B Minor is rightly revered as one of mankind’s greatest musical and spiritual achievements. (Bach also wrote four other full-fledged Masses during this period, which contained far briefer Kyries and Glorias, but scholars are uncertain as to their intended purposes or when, or even whether, they were ever performed.). Noting that such elaborate music was often performed during great festivals, he speculates that at least portions must have been performed, possibly the Gloria and Sanctus that were appropriate for a Christmas service. Certainly the length of the Mass would have made it unsuitable Johann Sebastian Bachs Mass in B minor is regarded by many as one of the supreme achievements of Western classical music. Bach had added many emendations to the original score, the authenticity of which have posed a challenge to later historians. Alan Jefferson terms it "Bach's personal declaration of Faith.". His fleet, broadly phrased, urgent, and dramatic account of the final chorus of the 'Gloria' provides an important, invaluable, and tantalizing hint of what the true Mendelssohnian Bach style must have been like."). The Mass in B minor was not performed in its entirety in Bach’s lifetime. Scholars speculate as to just when the Missa was composed. On this edition of Baroque&Before, Ivor Bolton leads Balthasar Neumann Chorus and B’Rock Orchestra in Bach’s masterwork. The duets are especially well-matched, as are the solo voices and accompaniment in the arias which, as Canby has observed, are essentially duets between a voice and a single instrument. Hermann Scherchen; Emmy Loose, Hilde Ceska, Gertrud Burgstahler-Schuster, Anton Dermota, Alfred Poell; Vienna Akademie Kammerchor, Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1950, Westminster LP set; 125'). Cost: $25+ Duration: About 2 … They had already released revelatory original instrument versions of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites and Violin Concertos (the last with a reduced "orchestra" of seven strings and harpsichord continuo) and would soon launch their most ambitious venture (shared with the King's College Choir and like-minded Leonhardt Consort), a project of staggering scope and historical importance – recording all 200+ Bach cantatas (and including the complete scores in each album). Personal preferences aside, it's a fascinating alternative to standard versions, draws you in to infer the missing power and focuses attention to previously overlooked details – and after all, lacking any definitive proof, who's to say what Bach intended? Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232. As for articulation, Rifkin notes that discrepancies among the Missa parts suggest an improvisatory attitude that tolerated, if not encouraged, a certain degree of imprecision; as a consequence his instrumental playing averts the sharp accentuation that we tend to associate with historically-informed performance in favor of a smoother, velvety sonority. Malcolm Boyd concludes: "No other work more convincingly demonstrates that at the highest level Bach's process of parody, adaptation and compilation must be accepted as a creative act almost on a par with what we normally think of as 'original composition'." In a January 1951 review in the Saturday Review of Literature, Irving Kolodin hailed this release as one of "imagination, integration and subtlety" and "a musical phenomenon rather than a liturgical exercise." Thus, the opening Kyrie evolves patiently, inexorably and reverently, while the Christe duet, despite a lovely initial blending of the two female voices, devolves into a duel for attention, complete with mammoth retards to mark the end of each section. Yet, Geiringer insists that the adaptations were not mechanically copied, but rather enriched the originals, to which Dadelsen adds that the adaptations saved no time, as they took longer to write than wholly new compositions (at least for a genius like Bach from whose pen music flowed readily). Charles Sanford Terry notes that while it contains all the sections of the Catholic mass (and, indeed, it was listed in Bach's estate catalog as "die Grosse catholische Messe"), textual variations violate the inflexible strictures required for ritual purposes; on the other hand, Lutherans use only portions (the Kyrie, Gloria and occasionally the Sanctus) of the full Catholic mass in their services. 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