Archive - Aug 5, 2013

Date

Mass in B Minor by Bach

Okay, folks, if you have an extra two hours, here is an excellent performance of the Mass in B Minor by J. S. Bach from last year at the Proms in London. Spectacular. Well thought-out. As good as Robert Shaw's version.  

Bach was Lutheran, but once when he was looking for more money, he applied for a job with a prince in Catholic Poland. For the try-out session, Bach composed several parts of the Catholic Mass. When he got home to Germany, he soured on moving to Poland, but he decided to finish the Mass, which is a masterpiece. It is intellectual, as are all Bach's works, but with magic musical moments redolent of the stuff Mozart doled out in his sleep. 

Bach never had a venue or orchestra this size. One wonders what he would have done with it had he known.

My favorite part starts at 1:02:11. Here Bach outdoes Mozart in the darkness department, exceeding even Mozart's Requiem in masterful expression of despair and gloom. Oh the delicious chord progressions and agonizing suspensions. Bach was all about not resolving anything until the last possible moment. Always leave one note lingering from the last chord while moving on to the next. 

And then it gets even better and more agonizing at 1:05, where the crucifixion is described.