The Mass in B minor (German : h-Moll-Messe), BWV 232, is an extended setting of the Mass ordinary by Johann Sebastian Bach. The composition was completed in 1749, the year before the composer's death, and was to a large extent based on earlier work, such as a Sanctus Bach had composed in 1724. Sections that were specifically composed to complete the Mass in the late 1740s include the "Et incarnatus est" part of the Credo.
As usual for its time, the composition is formatted as a Neapolitan mass, consisting of a succession of choral movements with a broad orchestral accompaniment, and sections in which a more limited group of instrumentalists accompanies one or more vocal soloists. Among the more unusual characteristics of the composition is its scale: a total performance time of around two hours, D.and a scoring consisting of two groups of SATB singers and an orchestra featuring an extended winds section, strings and continuo. Its key, B minor, is rather exceptional for a composition featuring natural trumpets in
Even more exceptional, for a Lutheran composer such as Bach, is that the composition is a Missa tota. In Bach's day, Masses composed for Lutheran services usually consisted only of a Kyrie and Gloria. Bach had composed five such Kyrie–Gloria Masses before he completed his Mass in B minor: the Kyrie–Gloria Masses, BWV 233–236, in the late 1730s, and the Mass for the Dresden court, which would become Part I of his only Missa tota, in 1733. The Mass was likely never performed in its entirety during Bach's lifetime. Its earliest documented complete performance took place in 1859. With many dozens of recordings, it is among Bach's most popular vocal works.
On 1 February 1733, Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and Elector of Saxony, died. Five months of mourning followed, during which all public music-making was suspended. Bach used the opportunity to work on the composition of a Missa, a portion of the liturgy sung in Latin and common to both the Lutheran and Roman Catholic rites. His aim was to dedicate the work to the new sovereign Augustus III, a convert to Catholicism, with the hope of obtaining the title "Electoral Saxon Court Composer". Upon its completion, Bach visited Augustus III in Dresden and presented him with a copy of the Kyrie–Gloria Mass BWV 232 I (early version), together with a petition to be given a court title, dated July 27, 1733; in the accompanying inscription on the wrapper of the Mass he complains that he had "innocently suffered one injury or another" in Leipzig.The petition did not meet with immediate success, but Bach eventually got his title: he was made court composer to Augustus III in 1736.
In the last years of his life, Bach expanded the Missa into a complete setting of the Latin Ordinary. It is not known what prompted this creative effort. Wolfgang Osthoff and other scholars have suggested that Bach intended the completed Mass in B minor for performance at the dedication of the new Hofkirche in Dresden, a Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Holy Trinity, which was begun in 1738 and was nearing completion by the late 1740s. However, the building was not completed until 1751 and Bach's death in July 1750 prevented his Mass from being submitted for use at the dedication. Instead, Johann Adolph Hasse's Mass in D minor was performed, a work with many similarities to Bach's Mass (the Credo movements in both works feature chant over a walking bass line, for example).In 2013, Michael Maul published research suggesting the possibility that instead, Bach compiled it for performance in Vienna at St. Stephen's Cathedral (which was Roman Catholic) on St. Cecilia's Day in 1749, as a result of his association with Count Johann Adam von Questenberg. Other explanations are less event-specific, involving Bach's interest in 'encyclopedic' projects (like The Art of Fugue ) that display a wide range of styles, and Bach's desire to preserve some of his best vocal music in a format with wider potential future use than the church cantatas they originated in (see "Movements and their sources" below).
The chronology of the Mass in B minor has attracted extensive scholarly attention. Recent literature suggests:
Bach did not give the B minor Mass a title. Instead, he organized the 1748–49 manuscript into four folders, each with a different title. That containing the Kyrie and Gloria he called "1. Missa"; that containing the Credo he titled "2. Symbolum Nicenum"; the third folder, containing the Sanctus, he called "3. Sanctus"; and the remainder, in a fourth folder he titled "4. Osanna | Benedictus | Agnus Dei et | Dona nobis pacem". John Butt writes, "The format seems purposely designed so that each of the four sections could be used separately."On the other hand, the parts in the manuscript are numbered from 1 to 4, and Bach's usual closing formula (S.D.G = Soli Deo Gloria) is only found at the end of the Dona Nobis Pacem. Further, Butt writes, "What is most remarkable about the overall shape of the Mass in B Minor is that Bach managed to shape a coherent sequence of movements from diverse material." Butt and George Stauffer detail the ways in which Bach gave overall musical unity to the work.
The first overall title given to the work was in the 1790 estate of the recently deceased C.P.E. Bach, who inherited the score. There, it is called "Die Grosse Catholische Messe" (the "Great Catholic Mass"). It is called that as well in the estate of his last heir in 1805, suggesting to Stauffer that "the epithet reflects an oral tradition within the Bach family".The first publication of the Kyrie and Gloria, in 1833 by the Swiss collector Hans Georg Nägeli with Simrock, refers to it as "Messe" Finally, Nageli and Simrock produced the first publication in 1845, calling it the "High Mass in B Minor" (Hohe Messe in h-moll). The adjective "high", Butt argues, was "strongly influenced by the monumental impact of Beethoven's Missa solemnis ." It soon fell from common usage, but the prepositional phrase "in B Minor" survives, even though it is in some ways misleading: only five of the work's 27 movements are in B minor, while twelve, including the final ones of each of the four major sections, are in D major (the relative major of B minor). The opening Kyrie, however, is in B minor, with the Christe Eleison in D major, and the second Kyrie in F-sharp minor; as Butt points out, these tonalities outline a B minor chord.
The piece is orchestrated for two flutes, two oboes d'amore (doubling on oboes), two bassoons, one natural horn (in D), three natural trumpets (in D), timpani, violins I and II, violas and basso continuo (cellos, basses, bassoons, organ and harpsichord). A third oboe is required for the Sanctus.
Bach conducted the Sanctus, in its first version, at the 1724 Christmas service in Leipzig, and re-used it in Christmas services in the mid-1740s.Scholars differ on whether he ever performed the 1733 Missa. Arnold Schering (in 1936) asserted that it was performed in Leipzig on April 26, 1733, when Augustus III of Poland visited the town, but modern scholars reject his argument for several reasons:
Scholars differ, however, on whether the Missa was performed in July in Dresden. Christoph Wolff argues that on July 26, 1733 at the Sophienkirche in Dresden, where Wilhelm Friedemann Bach had been organist since June, it "was definitely performed ... as evidenced by the extant Dresden performing parts and by the inscription on the title wrapper" given to the king the next day.Hans-Joachim Schulze made this case by pointing to the use of the past tense in the wrapper's inscription: "To his royal majesty was shown with the enclosed Missa ... the humble devotion of the author J. S. Bach." However, Joshua Rifkin rejects the argument, pointing out that the past-tense wording was typical of formal address often not related to performance. Also skeptical is Peter Williams, who notes that "there is no record of performers being assembled for such an event, and in August 1731 Friedemann reported that the Sophienkirche organ was badly out of tune." However, there is evidence of an organ recital by Bach at the Sophienkirche on 14 September 1731, and Friedemann Bach was only chosen as Organist for the institution on 23 June 1733. He would again perform a 2-hour Organ recital on 1 December 1736 at the Frauenkirche Dresden to inaugurate the new Gottfried Silbermann organ.
Scholars agree that no other public performances took place in Bach's lifetime, although Butt raises the possibility that there may have been a private performance or read-through of the Symbolum Nicenum late in Bach's life.
The first public performance of the Symbolum Nicenum section (under the title "Credo or Nicene Creed") took place 36 years after Bach's death, in Spring of 1786, led by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach at a benefit concert for the Medical Institute for the Poor in Hamburg.
As recounted by George Stauffer,the next documented performance (not public) in the nineteenth century was when Carl Friedrich Zelter—a key figure in the 19th-century Bach revival—led the Berlin Singakademie in read-throughs of the "Great Mass" in 1811, covering the Kyrie; in 1813 he led read-throughs of the entire work. The first public performance in the century—of just the Credo section—took place in Frankfurt in March, 1828, with over 200 performers and many instrumental additions. In the same year in Berlin, Gaspare Spontini led the Credo section, adding 15 new choral parts and numerous instruments. A number of performances of sections of the Mass took place in the following decades in Europe, but the first attested public performance of the Mass in its entirety took place in 1859 in Leipzig, with Karl Riedel and the Riedel-Verein. The first performance of the Mass in the UK was given by The Bach Choir, newly formed for this purpose by conductor Otto Goldschmidt, in 1876 in St James's Hall, London.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem performed the American premiere of the complete Mass on March 27, 1900, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, though there is evidence that parts of the Mass had been performed in the United States as early as 1870.
From early in the century, authors such as Albert Schweitzer, Arnold Schering, and Frederick Smend called for smaller performance forces, and experiments with (relatively) smaller groups began in the late 1920s.
The first complete recording of the work was made in 1929, with a large choir and the London Symphony Orchestra led by Albert Coates. : Nikolaus Harnoncourt made the first recording with "period instruments" in 1968, his second Bach choral recording. Joshua Rifkin's first recording using the one-voice-per-part vocal scoring he proposes was made in 1982, and won a 1983 Gramophone Award.As of 2013, a database lists over 200 recordings with many different types of forces and performance styles. The work has played a central role in the 'historical performance movement'
The Mass in B minor is widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of classical music. Alberto Basso summarizes the work as follows:
The Mass in B minor is the consecration of a whole life: started in 1733 for "diplomatic" reasons, it was finished in the very last years of Bach's life, when he had already gone blind. This monumental work is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution the Cantor of Leipzig made to music. But it is also the most astounding spiritual encounter between the worlds of Catholic glorification and the Lutheran cult of the cross.
Scholars have suggested that the Mass in B minor belongs in the same category as The Art of Fugue, as a summation of Bach's deep lifelong involvement with musical tradition—in this case, with choral settings and theology. Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the work as representing "a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish ... Bach's mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity."
The Mass was described in the 19th century by the editor Hans Georg Nägeli as "The Announcement of the Greatest Musical Work of All Times and All People" ("Ankündigung des größten musikalischen Kunstwerkes aller Zeiten und Völker").Even though it had never been performed, its importance was appreciated by some of Bach's greatest successors: by the beginning of the 19th century Forkel and Haydn possessed copies.
Two autograph sources exist: the parts for the Kyrie and Gloria sections that Bach deposited in Dresden in 1733, and the score of the complete work that Bach compiled in 1748–50, which was inherited by C.P.E. Bach (the autograph has been published in facsimile from the source in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.However, for his 1786 public performance of the Symbolum Nicenum, C.P.E. Bach, as was typical practice in the era, made additions to the autograph score for performance by adding a 28-bar introduction, replacing the now-obsolete oboe d'amore with newer instruments (clarinets, oboes, or violins) and making other changes in instrumentation for his own aesthetic reasons. C.P.E. also wrote in his own solutions to reading some passages made nearly illegible by his father's late-life handwriting problems.
For this and other reasons, the Mass in B minor poses a considerable challenge to prospective editors, and substantial variations can be noted in different editions, even critical urtext editions. The Bach Gesellschaft edition, edited by Julius Rietz, was published in 1856 based on several sources but without direct access to the autograph. When access was later obtained, the textual problems were so evident that the society published a revised edition the next year. The 1857 edition was the standard for the next century, but was later recognized to be even less accurate than the 1856 version due to inadvertent incorporation of C.P.E. Bach's alterations in the autograph.Similarly, the 1954 edition by Friedrich Smend for the Neue Bach-Ausgabe was shown to have significant faults within five years of publication.
Christoph Wolff's edition, published by C.F. Peters in 1997,uses two copies of the 1748–50 manuscript made before C.P.E. Bach's adulterations to try to reconstruct Bach's original readings, and seeks to recover performance details by using all available sources, including cantata movements that Bach reworked in the B minor Mass. Joshua Rifkin's edition, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 2006, also seeks to remove the C.P.E. Bach emendations, but differs from Wolff in arguing that the 1748–50 work is, to quote John Butt, "essentially a different entity from the 1733 Missa, and that a combination of the 'best' readings from both does not really correspond to Bach's final (and virtually completed) conception of the work"; Rifkin's version seeks to adhere to this final version.
Uwe Wolf's edition, published by Bärenreiter in 2010, relies upon x-ray spectrograph technology to differentiate J.S. Bach's handwriting from the additions made by C.P.E. Bach and others.Ulrich Leisinger's edition, published by Carus in 2014, accepts some of C.P.E. Bach's revisions and uses the 1733 Dresden parts as the primary source for the Kyrie and Gloria.
The work consists of 27 sections. Tempo and metrical information and parodied cantata sources come from Christoph Wolff's 1997 critical urtext edition, and from George Stauffer's Bach: The Mass in B Minor.except where noted. Regarding sources, Stauffer, summarizing current research as of 1997, states that "Specific models or fragments can be pinpointed for eleven of the work's twenty-seven movements" and that "two other movements [the "Domine Deus" and "Et resurrexit"] are most probably derived from specific, now lost sources." But Stauffer adds "there is undoubtedly much more borrowing than this." Exceptions are the opening four bars of the first Kyrie, the Et incarnatus est and Confiteor.
Butt points out that "only with a musical aesthetic later than Bach's does the concept of parody (adapting existing vocal music to a new text) appear in an unfavourable light" while it was "almost unavoidable" in Bach's day.He further notes that "by abstracting movements from what he evidently considered some of his finest vocal works, originally performed for specific occasions and Sundays within the Church's year, he was doubtless attempting to preserve the pieces within the more durable context of the Latin Ordinary." Details of the parodied movements and their sources are given below.
Note the nine (trinitarian, 3 × 3) movements that follow with a largely symmetrical structure, and the Domine Deus in the centre.
Note the nine movements with the symmetrical structure and the crucifixion at the centre.
As of 2015 [update] , 237 recordings are listed on bach-cantatas, beginning with the first recording by a symphony orchestra and choir to match, conducted by Albert Coates. Beginning in the late 1960s, historically informed performances paved the way for recordings with smaller groups, boys choirs and ensembles playing "period instruments", and eventually to recordings using the one-voice-on-a-vocal-part scoring first argued for by Joshua Rifkin in 1982.
Johann Ludwig Bach was a German composer and violinist.
Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29, is a sacred cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig in 1731 for Ratswechsel, the annual inauguration of a new town council, and first performed it on 27 August of that year. The cantata was part of a festive service in the Nikolaikirche. The cantata text by an unknown author includes in movement 2 the beginning of Psalm 75, and as the closing chorale the fifth stanza of Johann Gramann's "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren". Bach scored the work in eight movements for four vocal parts and a festive Baroque orchestra of three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, strings, an obbligato organ and basso continuo. The organ dominates the first movement Sinfonia which Bach derived from a Partita for violin. The full orchestra accompanies the first choral movement and plays with the voices in the closing chorale, while a sequence of three arias alternating with two recitatives is scored intimately.
The Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123, is a Solemn Mass composed by Ludwig van Beethoven from 1819 to 1823. It was first performed on 7 April 1824 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, under the auspices of Beethoven's patron Prince Nikolai Galitzin; an incomplete performance was given in Vienna on 7 May 1824, when the Kyrie, Credo, and Agnus Dei were conducted by the composer. It is generally considered one of the composer's supreme achievements and, along with Bach's Mass in B minor, one of the most significant Mass settings of the common practice period.
Missa brevis is Latin for "short Mass". The term usually refers to a mass composition that is short because part of the text of the Mass ordinary that is usually set to music in a full mass is left out, or because its execution time is relatively short.
Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, BWV 214, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed in 1733 for the birthday of Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony. Classified in published editions as a dramma per musica, it is based on a libretto by an unknown author. The piece has the dedicatee addressed by allegorical figures representing Roman and Greek goddesses of war and peace. It is structured as nine movements, and scored for four vocal parts and a festive Baroque orchestra with trumpets, timpani, flutes, oboes and strings. Choral movements frame a series of alternating recitatives and arias. Bach led the first performance with the Collegium Musicum at the Zimmermannsches Caffeehaus on 8 December 1733.
Johann Sebastian Bach's Magnificat, BWV 243, is a musical setting of the biblical canticle Magnificat. It is scored for five vocal parts, and a Baroque orchestra including trumpets and timpani. It is the first major liturgical composition on a Latin text by Bach.
Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht, BWV 105 is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the ninth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 25 July 1723. The musicologist Alfred Dürr has described the cantata as one of "the most sublime descriptions of the soul in baroque and Christian art".
Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Köthen between 1717 and 1723 for Quinquagesima Sunday and performed it as an audition piece for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig on 7 February 1723. The Sunday was the last occasion for music at church before the quiet time of Lent.
Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191, is a church cantata written by the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and the only one of his church cantatas set to a Latin text. He composed the Christmas cantata in Leipzig probably in 1742, for a celebration by the university of Leipzig. The composition's three movements all derive from the Gloria of Bach's 1733 Kyrie–Gloria Mass, which the composer would later use as the Gloria of his Mass in B minor.
Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille, BWV 120.1, is a sacred cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the occasion of Ratswechsel, the inauguration of a new town council in a church service, probably before 1730, or, alternatively, in 1742. Parts of the cantata appeared in a wedding cantata and a cantata commemorating the Augsburg Confession in 1730. Bach reworked the choral second movement for the Symbolum Nicenum of his Mass in B minor.
Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei, BWV 46, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it for the tenth Sunday after Trinity and it was first performed on 1 August 1723 in Leipzig.
Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!, BWV 172, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed in Weimar for Pentecost Sunday in 1714. Bach led the first performance on 20 May 1714 in the Schlosskirche, the court chapel in the ducal Schloss. Erschallet, ihr Lieder is an early work in a genre to which he later contributed complete cantata cycles for all occasions of the liturgical year.
Most of Johann Sebastian Bach's extant church music in Latin —settings of the Mass ordinary and of the Magnificat canticle— dates from his Leipzig period (1723–50). Bach started to assimilate and expand compositions on a Latin text by other composers before his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, and he continued to do so after he had taken up that post. The text of some of these examples by other composers was a mixture of German and Latin: also Bach contributed a few works employing both languages in the same composition, for example his early Kyrie "Christe, du Lamm Gottes".
In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig in 1734 for an unspecified occasion. The text consists of the unchanged words of the hymn by Paul Fleming (1642).
The Mass in B minor is Johann Sebastian Bach's only setting of the complete Latin text of the Ordinarium missae. Towards the end of his life, mainly in 1748 and 1749, he finished composing new sections and compiling it into a complex, unified structure.
Bach's Missa of 1733, BWV 232 I, is a Kyrie–Gloria Mass in B minor, composed in 1733 by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is an extended missa brevis consisting of a Kyrie in three movements and a Gloria in nine movements. Bach started to compose it, partly based on earlier work, after the death of his sovereign Augustus the Strong, dedicating it to the latter's son and successor, Frederick August II, in a letter dated 27 July 1733. At the time, Bach was in his tenth year as Lutheran church musician in Leipzig, while the Catholic court of the sovereign Elector of Saxony was located in Dresden. Bach sent performance parts of his Missa to Dresden while he kept the autograph score in Leipzig. Upon arrival in Dresden, the Mass was not added to the repertoire of the Catholic court chapel, but instead the parts, and Bach's dedication letter, were archived in the sovereign's library.
Apart from the 1733 Mass for the Dresden court, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote four further Kyrie–Gloria Masses, BWV 233–236. These compositions, consisting of the first two sections of the Mass ordinary, have been indicated as Missae breves or Lutheran Masses. They seem to have been intended for liturgical use, considering a performance time of about 20 minutes each, the average duration of a Bach cantata. They may have been composed around 1738/39. Possibly they were written for Count Franz Anton von Sporck or performed by him in Lysá.
The Magnificat in E-flat major, BWV 243a, also BWV 243.1, by Johann Sebastian Bach is a musical setting of the Latin text of the Magnificat, Mary's canticle from the Gospel of Luke. It was composed in 1723 and is in twelve movements, scored for five vocal parts and a Baroque orchestra of trumpets, timpani, oboes, strings and basso continuo including bassoon. Bach revised the work some ten years later, transposing it from E-flat major to D major, and creating the version mostly performed today, BWV 243.
Missa Providentiae is a Kyrie–Gloria Mass in D minor composed by Antonio Caldara, which around 1728 was expanded into a Missa tota by Jan Dismas Zelenka: this composer derived a Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Caldara's Kyrie and Gloria, and added a Credo, ZWV 31, of his own hand. Around 1738–1741, Johann Sebastian Bach made a copy of a Sanctus, BWV 239, which was based on the first section of the Gloria of Caldara's Kyrie–Gloria Mass.
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