In any event, Butt notes with considerable irony that the B Minor Mass, which brims with Bach's deepest spiritual convictions, began to attain popularity only after religious works became fashionable in secular concert settings. In that regard, Terry notes that the scoring was for Bach's augmented festival orchestration – three high trumpets, tympani and pairs of flutes, oboes and bassoons. As with most music of this vintage, the recordings of the Mass in b minor invoke the fundamental issues of appropriate performing forces and interpretive approaches and trace the evolution of attempts to follow "authentic" performance practices. In terms of its origins, the Mass can be viewed as having been crafted in two distinct halves. Not surprisingly, given Richter's acclaimed organ recordings, the tonal color is often enriched with prominent bass from the organ. The first documented performance of any portion of the B Minor Mass was by the composer's son C.P.E. Five-part choral writing is most in evidence, theâ¦ (All compositions are created 'over time'! (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.). Mass In B Minor BWV 232, Missa: Gratias Agimus Tibi (Chorus) 2:31. 19. A new Bach B minor Mass has got me very excited this week. Chris grew up in London and studied cello from the age of 5. Towards the end of his life, mainly in 1748 and 1749, he finished composing new sections and compiling it into a complex, unified structure. Of his beloved Bach, he left us empathetic accompaniments to Menuhin's 1930s recordings of the Violin Concertos, probing renditions of the violin Sonatas and Partitas, and this deeply spiritual Mass in B Minor. (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.) Miller, Philip L. – notes to the Shaw stereo RCA box, LSC-6157 (1961). Even if it had no other merit, the sheer daring of this bold British venture would assure it an honored place in the history of the phonograph – a full recording of a two-hour, barely-known work of highly select appeal. I would go further and consider the Mass to be "Bach's Greatest Hits" (at least among his vocal compositions), as every movement boasts exceptional melodies that rank among Bach's most memorable, arrayed amid a wide variety of textures and settings, and thus provides a convenient condensation of his art into a single composition, without the recitatives and narrative filler that pad out his cantatas and even the work that is often cited as his crowning achievement – the even more massive St. Matthew Passion. 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. Basing his performances on a newly-edited 1954 edition, he asserted in accompanying notes that Bach was used to an equal numerical and auditory balance between singers and instrumentalists, and thus scaled the size of the chorus where a choral sound might obscure an instrumental detail and assigned soloists in lieu of the chorus to sections of choral movements in which instruments do not double the voices. He began by asserting that traditions of interpretation are valid only for works performed in unbroken sequence since their composition, whereas for Bach, whose works lay unperformed for a century and thus were removed from the composer's intentions, our notions of authenticity (and thus our accustomed listening experiences) reflect the prevalent style of when they were discovered rather than when they had been composed. As might be expected from Americas most highly acclaimed choral director, the focus is on the singing, and, as might be expected from a colleague of Toscanini, the performance is direct and honest. Everything about it is large, the music, the voices, the scope of conception, the dynamics, use â¦ Butt notes that the parody technique had been a staple of Renaissance music, and so Bach's use of his own work showed respect for tradition, as well as for the purity and durability of the old style, rather than signaling a decline in inventiveness. Whether out of tribute to the lasting quality of the Coates set or fear of commercial risk, no further recording of the B Minor Mass appeared for nearly two more decades. While I consider the above recordings of the Mass in B Minor to have the greatest claim to historical significance, there are dozens of others, many of which have been widely acclaimed. He achieves further variety by using both female mezzos and male altos, rotates the solo turns among various members of his choir, and fortifies the more thickly-orchestrated concluding sections (Sanctus, Osanna and Dona nobis pacem) with additional voices, strings, oboes and flutes. Butt asserts that it was fully appropriate for Bach to pour into his Mass an exhaustive summation of his vast musical skills and of all the styles, idioms and devices available in his age. As Teri Noel Towe aptly describes it, "a massive choir sings with gusto and with surprising subtlety in the handful of choruses that were rather inexpertly recorded by a pioneer mobile recording team. 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'." Thus, in sending this Missa to the Elector with a letter dated July 27, 1733, Bach asked that the Elector "take me into your most mighty protection" and wrote that, despite serving as music director of Leipzig's two primary churches, "I have been made to suffer one injury or another, and on occasion a diminution of the fees connected with this office – all of which, however, would cease if Your Royal Highness would give me his favor and confer upon me a title in his court chapel," and promised "unending devotion and to devote all my powers to your service." Whereas Handel was well-known for his 'borrowings' (where he essentially stole things off other composers), Bach frequently used the so-called 'parody technique' (where he would recycle earlier compositions of his own using new texts). 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. The genesis and purpose of nearly all of Bach's prodigious output of vocal works is either known or can be reliably surmised â except for his very last and arguably greatest of all, which would come to be known as the Mass in B Minor (although, as Karl Geiringer observes, the title is a misnomer, as twice as many sections are in B Major than in b minor). 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. An equally serious consideration is that its text is not suited for use by either Roman Catholics or Lutherans. On this edition of Baroque&Before, Ivor Bolton leads Balthasar Neumann Chorus and BâRock Orchestra in Bachâs masterwork. Scholars agree that at most one or two sections were freshly composed, with all the rest adapted from earlier cantata movements. You'd never know from listening; there's remarkable consistency to the â¦ Whether it is a complete patchwork or put together from pieces of a design (most musicologists suggest the latter), this music is- certainly metaphorically and possibly literally- divine!
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