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Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Vocal Score)…

Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Vocal Score) (vuoden 2014 painos)

– tekijä: Johann Sebastian Bach (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1392151,979 (4.64)2
Teoksen nimi:Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Vocal Score)
Kirjailijat:Johann Sebastian Bach (Tekijä)
Info:Bärenreiter (2014), 251 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

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Mass in B minor, BWV 232 [audio recording] (tekijä: Johann Sebastian Bach)


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  VPALib | Mar 6, 2019 |
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Mass in B minor, BWV 232

CD 1


[1] 1. Chorus: Kyrie eleison [11’48]
[2] 2. Duet (soprano, contralto): Christe eleison [6’15]
[3] 3. Chorus: Kyrie eleison [3’20]

[4] 4. Chorus: Gloria in excelsis [1’55]
[5] 5. Chorus: Et in terra pax [4’03]
[6] 6. Aria (contralto): Laudamus te [5’25]
[7] 7. Chorus: Gratias agimus tibi [3’45]
[8] 8. Duet (soprano, tenor): Domine Deus [6’11]
[9] 9. Chorus: Qui tollis peccata mundi [3’50]
[10] 10. Aria (contralto): Qui sedes ad dextram Patris [5’47]
[11] 11. Aria (bass): Quoniam tu solus Sanctus [4’55]
[12] 12. Chorus: Cum Sancto Spiritu [4’13]

CD 2

Credo (Symbolum Nicenum)

[1] 13. Chorus: Credo in unum deum [2’48]
[2] 14. Chorus: Credo in unum deum, Patrem omnipotentem [2’15]
[3] 15. Duet (soprano, contralto): Et in unum Dominum [5’36]
[4] 16. Chorus: Et incarnatus est [4’02]
[5] 17. Chorus: Crucifixus [2’41]
[6] 18. Chorus: Et resurrexit [4’17]
[7] 19. Aria (bass): Et in Spiritum Sanctum [6’30]
[8] 20. Chorus: Confiteor [3’40]
[9] 21. Chorus: Et exspecto resurrectionem [4’11]

[10] 22. Sanctus [6’14]
[11] 23. Chorus: Osanna in excelsis [2’44]
[12] 24. Aria (tenor): Benedictus [5’30]
[13] 25. Chorus: Osanna in excelsis (da capo) [2’46]

Agnus Dei
[14] 26. Aria (contralto): Agnus Dei [7’33]
[15] 27. Chorus: Dona nobis pacem [4’02]

Gundula Janowitz, soprano
Christa Ludwig, contralto
Peter Schreier, tenor
Robert Kerns, baritone
Karl Ridderbusch, bass

Thomas Brandis, violin; Gerd Seifert, horn; James Galway & Günter Prill, flute; Robert Eliscu & Heinrich Kärcher, oboe d’amore; Günter Piesk & Henning Trog, bassoon

Continuo: Eberhard Finke, violoncello; Rainer Zepperitz, double bass; Rudolf Scholz, positive organ

Wiener Singverein
Berliner Philharmoniker

Herbert von Karajan

Recorded: 9&11/1973 and 1/1974, Philharmonie, Berin.

Deutsche Grammophon, n.d. 2CD. 61’27+64’48. Liner notes by Hans-Elmar Bach. Lyrics (Lat+Eng).


Why B minor? Ever wondered about that? I hadn’t until Alan Walker perceptively noted that “some keys were far less composer-prone than others, a fact that our own keyless age tends to forget.”[1] B minor is extremely rare in the works of Mozart (Adagio for Piano, K. 540) or Beethoven (just a few WoO) and not much more frequent in those of Haydn (two string quartets, one piano sonata). Schubert (Unfinished Symphony), Paganini (Violin Concerto No. 2) and Mendelssohn (String Symphony No. 10, Piano Quartet No. 3, Overture Hebrides) started the B minor obsession of the Romantics. Chopin (Scherzo No. 1, Sonata No. 3, “Octave” Etude, Mazurka Op. 33 No. 4, Waltz Op. 69 No. 2), Liszt (Sonata, Ballade No. 2), Dvorak (Cello Concerto), Borodine (Symphony No. 2) and Tchaikovsky (Manfred, Pathétique) carried the torch with a vengeance until the end of the 19th century. Brahms seems to have avoided the key, but his famous Clarinet Quintet Op. 115 (1891) is in B minor.

The Baroque masters apparently anticipated the Romantics in terms of B minor. The key pops up regularly in the works of Handel and Vivaldi. Bach used it for his Orchestral Suite No. 2, French Suite No. 3 for keyboard, about a dozen cantatas and, of course, the massive Mass in B minor. This cosmic work, completed only in 1749 after decades of revisions, has all but eclipsed all later settings of the traditional Latin text. Even Beethoven’s mighty Missa solemnis, while equally well presented on record, somewhat pales in comparison with Bach’s grandeur. In one of his letters to Ada Mainardi (17 July 1933), Toscanini compared the B minor Mass with Mont Blanc and Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with Resegone (1875 m in the Bergamasque Prealps). This sounds harsh, but it’s not too far from the truth:

The Kyrie, the Qui tollis, the Incarnatus, and the Crucifixus are among the most divine things ever conceived and realized by the human mind. Beethoven, in the same numbers of the Mass in D, is a long way behind. He is to Bach as Mont Blanc to the Resegone! Never has a more profound and desperate human cry been raised up to God than in Bach’s Kyrie! Every day, the human beings who cover the earth’s five continents ought to offer up this invocation to the Eternal Father, in a formidable voice, to redeem their sins.[2]

The B minor Mass has been fantastically well served on record.[3] Its power has spread way beyond the Bach specialists (Richter, Rilling) and the HIPsters (Harnoncourt, Gardiner) to the sacrilegious “old school” approach of Karajan, Klemperer, Jochum and Solti. While I love Rilling’s exquisite 1977 recording, my musical sympathies lie more with the old timers who felt there was no need to chamberise the work. They were unapologetic about using large orchestral and choral forces. For what it’s worth, Harold Schonberg agreed with them:

Bach evidently craved large forces, and it is a mistake today, in the name of “authenticity,” to present such large-scale works as the B-minor Mass and the two great Passions with a tiny number of participants in line with Bach’s memo of 1730. Of course, Bachian textures must be preserved whatever the forces involved, and the music must be presented with perfect clarity. But that does not preclude a big sound.[4]

“Bach’s memo from 1730” is a fascinating document in which Bach outlines his minimum requirements for church music forces. He was certainly happy, as Schonberg notes (and much like Mozart later, by the way), to have larger choirs and orchestras.

Karajan first recorded the B minor Mass in 1952-3 with the Philharmonia (in London) for the arias and the Wiener Singverein (in Vienna) for the choruses. A live performance from 1950 has also been released; it is avidly pursued by the acolytes of Kathleen Ferrier. I have never listened to these recordings and, truth to tell, I have never felt much need to. Excepting a few Requiems (Mozart, Verdi, Brahms), I can’t think of a single mass among my favourite works. But Bach’s B minor, like the Great Mass in C minor (Mozart) and the Gran Mass (Liszt), does come close.

This 1973/4 recording leaves, to my ears and sensibility, nothing to be desired. Karajan keeps the pace slow but steady, the sound sumptuous but transparent, and the music highly expressive at all times, even when Bach insists on being tediously florid. The soloists are off the scales, and not just the famous names who are expected to be; Robert Kerns is little remembered these days, but his “Et in Spiritum Sanctum” is a miracle of pace, diction and phrasing. The choral singing has gathered some negative criticism from respectable quarters. I don’t mean the HIPsters and the Bachomaniacs who detest Karajan by default; I mean people who generally like Karajan and prefer their Bach served in the grand old way. But I hear nothing sloppy or uninvolved in the Wiener Singverein here. One could perhaps wish, sound-wise, for slightly less shrill trumpets, but this is surely a very minor problem.

[1] Frederic Chopin: Profiles of the Man and the Musician, ed. Alan Walker, Barrie and Jenkins, 1979, p. 251.
[2] The Letters of Arturo Toscanini, ed. Harvey Sachs, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002, p. 147. Mr Sachs notes (p. 148) that the “metaphor is backward, inasmuch as Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps, unless AT meant to say that the Resegone is more dramatically beautiful than Mont Blanc.”
[3] 293 recordings made between 1929 and 2017 are currently listed on the Bach Cantatas Website.
[4] Harold C. Schonberg, The Lives of the Great Composers, W. W. Norton [1997], p. 44. ( )
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