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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Mass in B minor BWV 232
General Discussions - Part 16

Continue from Part 15

David Patrick Stearns on the B Minor Mass

Teri Noel Towe wrote (May 14, 2007):
With thanks to DWF: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/entertainment/20070513_Comes_in_all_sizes.html

Neil Halliday wrote (May 14, 2007):
[To Teri Noel Towe] Thanks, Teri, for the link to the entire article.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (May 16, 2007):
[To Teri Noel Towe]
Thank you for this interesting article. I in general have come to the same conclusion: Too much virtual ink is spilled on several aspects of performance practice and in the end there are many ways to have a full experience of any Bach work.

Now personally on this matter I don't want a huge choir any more than I do on Messiah et al. However there are many fine old recordings of all Bach works which I fail to find inferior to some of the highly tauted (sorry for my spelling) modern ones according to whatever is the fashion.

I also find that none of these, Parrott, Veldhoven (per this article) really does OVPP. This article saith that the later uses here and there 10 ripienists. Parrott used two extra boy alto repienists, Immler and Killian in addition to the concertist Iconomou who himself in 9 months younger here than in the Harnoncourt Johannes-Passion (at that age it does matter). Thanks again for the link. The only vK I listen to his the much older live one with Ferrier.

Many roads,

Matthew Westphal wrote (May 16, 2007):
Yoël L. Arbeitman says:
>>> I also find that none of these, Parrott, Veldhoven (per this article) really does OVPP. [meaning that they use ripienists] <<<
Yes, it's true. And there is, to my knowledge, not really any internal evidence in the original B Minor Mass autograph materials, except for "Dona nobis pacem" (where the vocal scoring is marked as Sop 1 + 2, Alt 1 + 2, Tenor 1 + 2, Bass 1 + 2, whereas "Gratias agimus tibi" is marked for Sop 1 + 2, Alt, Tenor, Bass).

My sense is that Parrott, van Veldhoven and Junghänel (and possibly McCreesh as well) just aren't fully comfortable going all-the-way OVPP in the Mass. So they cite as justification for using ripienists ad libitum the facts that 1) the Mass as a whole was never intended, as a practical matter, for performance as a unit (although the Missa, meaning the Kyrie and Gloria, surely was), and 2) some of the original cantata choruses recycled into the B Minor Mass do call explicitly for ripienists. (And they might well be right about all that.)

Rifkin's recording and performances of the Mass have always been strictly OVPP, as are Kuijken's since his conversion on this subject. Junghänel's recording uses ripienists, though at least some of his concert performances have used only eight singers. I believe McCreesh has used ripienists in concert; we'll see what he does when/if he starts looking at recording the Mass. I wonder what Montreal Baroque (which is VERY SLOWLY working its way through an OVPP cantata cycle on the Atma label) would do -- probably use concertists only, I'd guess.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (May 16, 2007):
Matthew Westphal wrote:
< Rifkin's recording and performances of the Mass have always been strictly OVPP, as are Kuijken's since his conversion on this subject. Junghänel's recording uses ripienists, though at least some of his concert performances have used only eight singers. >
Thanks for the details, Matthew. It's a long time since I had the Rifkin on LPs. So I have no memory of it. It's my general impression that strict OVPP might be an extreme take on reality but I am sure that everyone has different feelings on this.

Matthew Westphal wrote (May 16, 2007):
Yoël L. Arbeitman says:
< It's my general impression that strict OVPP might be an extreme take on reality but I am sure that everyone has different feelings on this. >
I've heard it done enough times that I think it can work. Of course, one has to get used to the fact that there won't be a big wall of sound -- it's not unlike the adjustment in expectations many of us made for small period-instrument orchestras in place of big Stokowski- or Furtwängler-style symphony orchestras.

To my ears, the problems with OVPP in the B minor Mass are usually not ones of balance. (I now find balance and clarity worse with a Herreweghe or Gardiner-style choir.) The problems are more often with casting -- or just with execution (as with Rifkin's recording, made back in 1982.)

 

CPE's Mass in B Minor

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 31, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It was not JSB who wrote this into the score, but his son, CPE, in 1786. The latter is also responsible for 're-writing' or 're-composing' his father's score (he changed considerably the 'texting' of the music >
I was fascinated a few years ago by the recording of the SMP in it's Mendelssohn arrangement. It would be interesing to hear a pefrormance of of CPE Bach's arrangement of the Mass in B Minor. Stauffer reproduces a few bars of the orchestral introduction which he added to the opening of the Credo.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 31, 2007):
CPE's erasures in the B Minor Mass, Part II...

< Remember that CPE used a razor blade (Foreword to Rifkin's 2006 Urtext edition, B&H) to erase notes from his father's original composition and then superimposed his own inferior modifications upon them in such a way that it becomes impossible to ascertain for certain what his father had originally intended. >
Talk about a bold assertion! If CPE Bach erased them (with razor blade or other method), such that there's no definite way to know what was there before: how is it possible to know that his own ideas were necessarily "inferior modifications"?

Also, by the way: Rifkin's foreword DOES NOT assert that it was "inferior modifications". You've put those words into Rifkin's mouth, at least by association. In fact, Rifkin there in his foreword lauds the way CPE Bach made good corrections in most places with a "watchful eye", fixing problems that "Bach would most likely have emended if he had written out parts."

He also says that his own (Rifkin's) task is to present Part II "in a form that eliminates so far as possible the interventions of CPE Bach." Eliminating interventions (a process of dealing with facts); that's not at all the same thing as asserting that CPE's work was "inferior modifications" (value judgment). Rather, Rifkin's simply trying to reconstruct what was there before CPE's editorial work, for historical interest in the facts of the matter. "A critical edition by its very nature seeks not to prescribe rules but to open possibilities."

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 31, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>If CPE Bach erased them (with razor blade or other method), such that there's no definite way to know what was there before: how is it possible to know that his own ideas were necessarily "inferior modifications"?<<
It is stated that CPE Bach did catch a few of the apparent errors in his father's autograph score of the "Et in unum", but there are other instances where the actual notes of the JSB's score are "zwar nicht mehr feststellbar" (can no longer be determined, have become unreadable or unrecognizable) [NBA KB II/1, p. 151]. In other words, there is no way for Rifkin, Brad Lehman or anyone else to find out what was there originally and whether CPE's complete razorblade erasures and the subsequent insertions of notes amounted to what might have been corrections for JSB's errors in the original or if twas part of CPE's own new conception of what this mvt. should sound like, in other words, part of his own transcription of his father's original composition.

While it may be interesting to hear CPE's version of his father's work, CPE has done a great disservice to his father's legacy by assuming that his work could possibly surpass in quality what his father had conceived in his mind and presented in its original form. Friedrich Smend's statement which I had quoted makes quite clear that CPE's modifications to this mvt. have caused its structural integrity to suffer. This assertion appears quite reasonable to me as Smend explains how CPE's modification and shifting about of portions of the text destroy the musical symbolism (word painting) which were present in the original. This is how it is possible to know that CPE's ideas in regard to this mvt. are necessarily "inferior modifications" and not to be considered improvements over his father's efforts.

BL: >>Also, by the way: Rifkin's foreword DOES NOT assert that it was "inferior modifications". You've put those words into Rifkin's mouth, at least by association.<<
My sentence structure makes quite clear that "CPE used a razor blade" is derived from Rifkin's Preface and not what which follows; otherwise I would have inserted the Rifkin reference at the end of the sentence.

The incorrect association suggested is one that a careful reader would not make.

BL: quoting Rifkin: ""A critical edition by its very nature seeks not to prescribe rules but to open
possibilities."
Yes, possibilities like hearing more OVPP performances of the BMM. How else can we understand Rifkin's notion that the traditional performances of sacred music in Leipzig under Bach's direction would have been OVPP, an idea which he promotes in his Preface to the Breitkopf Urtext Edition, 2006?

-----

An interesting observation as a followup to Alain's presentation of Rifkin's ideas about Bach's generally non-existent rehearsals is found on p. 793 of Rifkin's critique of the facsimile edition of the score and parts of the BMM found in Notes 44 (1988) where he states that taken as a whole is "less the fruit of long reflection and planning than a brilliant improvisation undertaken at more or less the last minute". To be sure, much material was derived from previous compositions, but new material was added as well. I find this observation by Rifkin to be a confirmation of what Bach's normal composition and copy process was like during his first Leipzig years
as based upon the evidence revealed by the scores and parts.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 31, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< While it may be interesting to hear CPEąs version of his fatherąs work, CPE has done a great disservice to his fatherąs legacy by assuming that his work could possibly surpass in quality what his father had conceived in his mind and presented in its original form. >
Geeze, even CPE Bach gets a slap! I guess his love and promotion of his father's works counts for nothing. Does that mean that Bach should be rebuked for arranging Vivaldi?

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 31, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>If CPE Bach erased them (with razor blade or other method), such that there's no definite way to know what was there before: how is it possible to know that his own ideas were necessarily "inferior modifications"?<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It is stated that CPE Bach did catch a few of the apparent errors in his father’s autograph score of the “Et in unum”, but there are other instances where the actual notes of the JSB’s score are “zwar nicht mehr feststellbar” (can no longer be determined, have become unreadable or unrecognizable) [NBA KB II/1, p. 151]. In other words, there is no way for Rifkin, Brad Lehman or anyone else to find out what was there originally and whether CPE’s complete razorblade erasures and the subsequent insertions of notes amounted to what might have been corrections for JSB’s errors in the original or if this was part of CPE’s own new conception of what this mvt. should sound like, in other words, part of his own transcription of his father’s original composition.
While it may be interesting to hear CPE’s version of his father’s work, CPE has done a great disservice to his father’s legacy by assuming that his work could possibly surpass in quality what his father had conceived in his mind and presented in its original form. Friedrich Smend’s statement which I had quoted makes quite clear that CPE’s modifications to this mvt. have caused its structural integrity to suffer. This assertion appears quite reasonable to me as Smend explains how CPE’s modification and shifting about of portions of the text destroy the musical symbolism (word painting) which were present in the original. This is how it is possible to know that CPE’s ideas in regard to this mvt. are necessarily “inferior modifications” and not to be considered improvements over his father’s efforts. >
Dude, your long answer here isn't even logically consistent; nor does it answer the question.

The problem is YOUR assertion that CPE's work is categorically inferior to his father's, and that YOUR assertion is based on unknowable information.

"CPE has done a great disservice to his father’s legacy by assuming that his work could possibly surpass in quality what his father had conceived in his mind" blah de blah de blah de blah...THAT'S all made-up stuff by
Thomas Braatz, asserting an opinion that's not (and can't be) based on seeing what notes were there before...because the notes are gone! There is no way for Thomas Braatz to be absolutely certain that CPE Bach
_____up, or that CPE's work was inferior in any way.

Nor does Thomas Braatz know what was in CPE Bach's mind or assumptions, let alone JS Bach's mind or anyone else's mind.

Thomas Braatz is just erecting his own opinion on top of creatively-interpreted hearsay from Smend, and there it teeters uneasily in the wind. Yee-haw.

"A great disservice to his father's legacy"? Climb down from the 50-meter horse, please, and stop judging him by standards of YOUR time (and indeed, peccadilloes of your own fashioning), as to what he was apparently trying to do with his own skills as a composer. Isn't it possible that the man was giving his best effort to preserving and correcting his father's piece in best idealized form, i.e. the opposite of doing "great disservice" to it?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 31, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>The problem is YOUR assertion that CPE's work is categorically inferior to his father's, and that YOUR assertion is based on unknowable information.<<
The word "categorically" misrepresents my original statement because I never used that word. If, however, a general comparison between the compositions of both composer's is made, there is no doubt in my mind which
composer ranks higher. That CPE's modifications of the "Et in unum Dominum" are, for the most part, inferior
musically to his father's original choices is not my assertion but rather that of Friedrich Smend who analyzed and commented upon the original source materials for the first NBA edition.

Rifkin's comment in the Preface to the 2006 Urtext Edition is that CPE "often made corrections with the help of a razor blade, in the process obscuring what his father wrote to the point of unrecognizability....Obviously, a number of problematic pasremain...." If this is not doing a disservice to his father's music then what real
benefit are his actions that prevent us from recreating an Urtext of his father's music? As interesting as a CPE version of the BMM or parts of it may be from the standpoint of intellectual curiosity, it is quite apparent to most Bach commentators that his father's music is not really improved by CPE's changes; on the contrary, it loses certain aspects of its structural and symbolic significance. I am gladly looking forward to anyone who might be able to prove otherwise.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 31, 2007):
< The word "categorically" misrepresents my original statement because I never used that word. If, however, a general comparison between the compositions of both composer's is made, there is no doubt in my mind which composer ranks higher. >
Let's try one to see if you're up to this. Take the unaccompanied flute sonata in A minor by CPEB, Wq 132, and the unaccompanied flute partita in A minor by JSB, BWV 1013. Both of these compositions are about 12 minutes long, and in the same key. Please list a dozen criteria by which JSB's composition is demonstrably better (such that the "composer ranks higher" in your own idolatrous pantheon), as to suitability for the instrument, expression, variety, balance of phrasing, breathing points, or any other reasonable criteria that you would find convincing. Musical and practical reasons, dude.

I'd also suggest you listen sometime to CPEB's six "Hamburg Symphonies", Wq 182, and then come up with some dozen criteria by which his music, inventiveness, and musicianship are inferior (in your estimation) to
ANYONE'S.

The six "Hamburg" harpsichord concertos Wq 43 are worth hearing, too.... Are they inferior in any way to his father's harpsichord concertos? Come up with some criteria and try to prove your general assertion about (against) CPE Bach's musical skill demonstrated in his music.

And CPE's keyboard sonatas rival any of Haydn's...and Haydn himself said that they inspired him. What a dude.

< That CPE's modifications of the "Et in unum Dominum" are, for the most part, inferior musically to his father's original choices is not my assertion but rather that of Friedrich Smend who analyzed and commented upon the original source materials for the first NBA edition. >
Hiding behind heroic authority again, I see. Whenever the going gets rough, run and look up a book, and point to it triumphantly that it's the opinion of somebody smart to whom we all should kowtow.

Something in all this rings odd, for you. You're regularly making up specious points that whatever-and-such book you have in hand should win whatever-and-such argument, simply by dint of being newer (i.e. "more
recent Bach scholarship"). So, now with your authoritarian appeal to Smend, and assuming that your arguments should be consistent with one another: what are you doing quoting an edition from the mid-1950s (score 1954, KB 1956), to justify the "no doubt" in your mind? It goes against colorful character, where you usually have to act more up-to-date and more securely informed than anybody.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 1, 2007):
CPE Bach's importance

< I envy in a healthy way the real scholar who has a deep grasp of such matters. My own mind is not like an encylopedia, but more of a nature to synthesize knowledge and apply material in new ways as needed, so I can see the point of transitions even if something got lost (something always gets lost, anyway). So if a scholar of substantial repute says good things about CPE Bach, I am apt to believe that and hope that others will listen up. Frankly, I always liked CPE even before this discussion. >
CPE Bach's importance was already firmly recognized more than 200 years ago.

Burney: "Not only one of the greatest composers that existed for keyboard instruments, but the best player in the point of expression."

Mozart: "He is the father, we are the children. Those of us who do anything right, learned it from him. Whoever does not own to this is a ***."

Beethoven and Haydn both admired CPE Bach's sonatas as models for their own.

Not that any of those people were in any way important to music history...... :)

In Hamburg, CPE Bach was the music director of the five major churches for the last 20 years of his life (following in the footsteps of his godfather, Telemann). Hmm, bigger city than Leipzig. That was after he'd left as unsatisfactory his earlier job working for the king. People tend not to get such jobs in the first place, unless it's clear they have talent and commitment to their field.

Last night on the way to the grocery store I flipped on the car radio, and caught the middle and last movements of CPE's flute concerto in A, Wq 172. (It also exists in versions for cello or harpsichord.) Immediately recognizable as CPE's music, from the way he used melodic inflections, and harmonic and rhythmic surprises. Such groovy and engaging stuff, I made sure I didn't get to the store before the concerto ended. It is a sign.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 1, 2007):
< Last night on the way to the grocery store I flipped on the car radio, and caught the middle and last movements of CPE's flute concerto in A, Wq 172. (It also exists in versions for cello or harpsichord.) Immediately recognizable as CPE's music, from the way he used melodic inflections, and harmonic and rhythmic surprises. Such groovy and engaging stuff, I made sure I didn't get to the store before the concerto ended. It is a sign. >
My mistake: the cello version is indeed numbered 172, but the flute version of the same concerto is numbered 168.

Carry on.

Jaan Laaninen wrote (June 1, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] Great historical details! Thanks Brad.

 

b minor mass OVPP with A=440

Etha Williams wrote (July 28, 2007):
This may be an impossible request, but does anyone know of a one voice per part recording of the B Minor Mass that uses an A tuned to 440 (or thereabouts)? I have the Rifkin and I love the clarity of the polyphony that comes with using OVPP, but my absolute pitch just can't deal with the A=415, even if this is the historically correct tuning. It just sounds wrong to me. Does the Parrott recording use A=440?

Thanks,

 

Federer Messe in h-Moll

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 2, 2008):
Some of you may recall that I created an upload Bach list at the time of the Bachfest, rather specifically to upload my own poor recording of large segments with Teri Noel Towe. One of Teri's segments was on two pseudonymous early 1950s recordings of the Messe in h-Moll.

One of these was the one ascribed to Alfred Federer.

Although my list had very little public activity, something good came from the uploads I made there. A Bach expert, a specialist collector of ancient recordings whom I know from elsewhere (indeed the very same person who provided me with my long sought Preinfalk Johannes-Abridged-Passion with Rössl-Majdan in that great aria) informed me privately that the Alfred Federer recording is actually the same as the 1953 Fritz Lehmann recording. I put this informant into contact with Teri who indicates that he accepts this solution. The informant does not wish to post and is not on any Bach list at all events. I see from the website that Teri has not contacted Aryeh and so I am finally posting both lists, the Bach Cantatas discussion list and my own upload list where my informant was able to hear Teri's talk and playing of the Credo from the recording in question. Increase in data is always good,

 

Gratias Agimus Tibi

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 29 - Discussions Part 2

Chris Kern wrote (August 14, 2008):
DNumber 3747 (Gratias Agimus Tibi)

I haven't actually listened to BWV 29, but I just want to say that the Gratias Agimus Tibi from the BMM is one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard. There's something inspiring, uplifting, and awe-inspiring about it. I compose music sometimes as a hobby and I remember one time listening to this and feeling like I never wanted to write anything else, because there was no need to since this piece existed. (I'm prone to exaggeration, I guess. :-)

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 14, 2008):
Bach & Brass

Chris Kern wrote:
< I haven't actually listened to BWV 29, but I just want to say that the Gratias Agimus Tibi from the BMM is one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard. >
The power of this chorus is really Handelian. Handel knew how to delay the entry of the brass for maximum effect: in "Messiah", the trumpets and timpani have been silent for nearly an hour before the Hallelujah Chorus begins. And even then Handel delays their appearance in the chorus until Bar 19. The effect is electrifying: I suspect that the tradition of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus started with an audience which jumped up
at this point and applauded during the performance.

Bach tends not to use this kind of effect and usually introduces the brass during an opening ritirnello -- the opening of the Magnificat is a good example. Interestingly, the Mass in B Minor has at least four examples of delayed trumpets: "Credo/Patrem", "Confiteor/Et Expecto" and "Et Resurrexit" which begins "ex abrupto" after the "Crucifixus".

"Gratias/Dona," which is adapted from "Wir Danken," is perhaps the most dramatic of them all. The first trumpet does not enter until Bar 16 and then merely doubles the soprano line. At bar 31 (with only 16 bars until the end), Bach brings the brass and timpani with new independent contrapuntal lines which take the first trumpet up to a high D.

The effect, especially with the climactic entry of the timpani in bar 41, never fails to astonish.

Stephen Benson wrote (August 14, 2008):
Chris Kern wrote:
< I just want to say that the Gratias Agimus Tibi from the BMM is one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard. There's something inspiring, uplifting, and awe-inspiring about it. >
Just out of curiosity, why the Gratias agimus tibi and not the Dona nobis pacem? I've always felt, perhaps because of its position as the absolute culmination of the BMM as well as the universal relevance of the message it sends, a greater affinity for the Dona nobis pacem. (And wouldn't it be a profound statement if the US were to scrap, as its national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner with its bursting bombs and red-glaring rockets and replace it with the Dona nobis pacem?)

Stephen Benson wrote (August 14, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< "Gratias/Dona," which is adapted from "Wir Danken," is perhaps the most dramatic of them all. The first trumpet does not enter until Bar 16 and then merely doubles the soprano line. At bar 31 (with only 16 bars until the end), Bach brings the brass and timpani with new independent contrapuntal lines which take the first trumpet up to a high D. >
Note that, although taken from BWV 29, the Gratias and Dona choruses in the BMM differ in measure numbers from BWV 29 (see the introduction to BWV 29 and Doug's recent post) because of the difference in time signatures. Same measures; different numbers.

Jane Newble wrote (August 14, 2008):
Digest Number 3747 (Gratias Agimus Tibi)

[To Chris Kern] When I read Chris' post I watched again this part of the BMM on the Guttenberg DVD, and I remembered that when I sang this with a choir I thought exactly the same. It is awesome music and would be hard to beat.

Bruce Simonson wrote (August 15, 2008):
Stephen Benson wrote:
< (And wouldn't it be a profound statement if the US were to scrap, as its national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner with its bursting bombs and red-glaring rockets and replace it with the Dona nobis pacem?) >
You're making the assumption that the US govt. would be profound! But yes it would be profound.

Nicholas Johnson wrote (August 15, 2008):
Youtube has some entertaining clips of Philippe Herreweghe and John Eliot Gardener conducting Bach, including BMM. Both, of course, produce wonderful results results but how different their body language is.

John Pike wrote (August 15, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson] I'm with Stephen on both these points, but somehow I can't see the current US administration changing its National Anthem to the Dona Nobis Pacem. Other classical alternatives come to mind...a Dies Irae, for example.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 15, 2008):
[To John Pike] At least "O Canada" is lifted from the the Overture to Act II of the Magic Flute.

Jane Newble wrote (August 15, 2008):
[To Nicholas Johnson] Herreweghe seems very detached, which amazed me.

But then I came across this from the church of Herr Bach himself.......
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=YypOJyubXPs
Wonderful.

Bruce Simonson wrote (August 15, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson] Comparing the subtle differences between the three versions of this incredible fugue is worthwhile. I believe that the Dona Nobis Pacem nails it best (also, isn't it Bach's final parody? ... if so, my guess is he would agree ...). I find the alto entrance at bar 28 to be particularly interesting and strong in BWV232:27, compared to the other versions.

The discussion group's current comments on delaying the brass entrances in monumental works is interesting as well.

These days, I am looking at the Magnificat, and a similar thing happens in movement 7 (Fecit potentiam). Here the trumpet entrance is delayed as well, until the point where they have the 6th entrance of the wildly melismatic fugue theme, at a point where the text (dispersit) is going full force in the chorus, and the music is starting to disintegrate.

And then, on "mente cordis sui" (9 bars later), Bach goes to homophonic block chords, and delays the trumpets and timpani again, but in a majestic way, which I'm guessing is another one of Bach's musical statements about God and his majesty.

It is absolutely amazing, to me, how the mind of Bach, which I believe is so focused on pattern and invention, and the intelligent and rational (reasoned) development of ideas, treats the concept of "dispersit" in the Magnificat ... the best way I can describe it, is, this movement is "composed chaos" ... and it is simply astonishing.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 16, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< And then, on "mente cordis sui" (9 bars later), Bach goes to homophonic block chords, and delays the trumpets and timpani again, but in a majestic way, which I'm guessing is another one of Bach's musical statements about God and his majesty. >
This is perhaps Bach's most Handelian moment -- it has much the same effect as the Hallelujah Chorus, including the dazzling first trumpet.

Mary wrote (August 17, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< At least "O Canada" is lifted from the the Overture to Act II of the Magic Flute. >
And the opening motive of the Olympic fanfare (at least on NBC-TV here in the States is "O Canada". Just goes to show ya.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 17, 2008):
[To Mary] Canadians were horrified at such blatant 'Murrican imperialism when the fanfare first appeared at the games (Los Angeles?)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 17, 2008):
>And the opening motive of the Olympic fanfare (at least on NBC-TV here in the States is "O Canada". Just goes to show ya.<
I always thought it was <Au Canada>, to accurately reflect the official bilingual status of the northenmost USA state (Quebec).

Perhaps we will get to hear it (motive) for a GoldMedal, as well? Allons enfants!

 

Live-streaming: Wolff lecture on Mass in B Minor

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 18, 2009):
Perhaps I've just missed postings, but an hour-long lecture at Indiana by Christoph Wolff on the Mass in B Minor can be heard at: http://broadcast.iu.edu/lectures/bach/

Fascinating material, especially about musical practice in Dresden.

 

Recommended recordings of BMM

Ladislav Furman wrote (February 27, 2009):
I am considering buying new recording of BMM. So far I have some great ones (although only as MP3) and would like to have real CD for a change :-) I have so far recordings by Gardiner, Herreweghe (I think that it's his 1st one on Virgin label), Koopman and Suzuki. I am not sure whether stone shops here in Bratislava have such music available, so i was thinking about buying one from Amazon or some such Web shop. I read also reviews on bach-cantatas.com to help me decide this, but I am still somewhat undecided.

Which recording would learned members of this list recommend to me?

John Pike wrote (February 27, 2009):
[To Ladislav Furman] I'm not sure that I would regard myself as a learned member, but the OVPP recording by Cantus Coelln directed by Junghaenel, is very good and has been widely praised on this list. I am also very keen on Hengelbrock, Gardiner (worth having on CD as well as mp3), Harnoncourt and, for a more traditional recording, Jochum.

For searching on Amazon, enter Cantus Colln or Junghanel, since they miss out the umlauts. Uri Golomb is the top expert on the BMM on this list and I hope he will offer you some advice.

Happy hunting and listening.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 27, 2009):
I like van Veldhoven's, among others.

Philip Peters wrote (February 27, 2009):
[To Ladislav Furman] The new one by Minkowski, an amazing achievement.

As far as I know it's not yet available in the US, I have no idea about Bratislava. But it's available at Amazon France.

Philip Peters wrote (February 27, 2009):
[To Bradley Lehman] In view of the recordings the OP already has Van Veldhoven would be my second choice after Minkoswki.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 27, 2009):
[To Ladislav Furman]
1.) Karl Richter leading the Muenchener Bach-Orchester and Muenchener Bach-Chor.

2.) Thomaskantor Georg Christoph Biller leading the Leipziger Gewandhausorchester and Leipziger Thomanerchor.

3.) Rudolf Mauersberger leading the Dresdner Kreuzchor.

4.) Peter Schreier (in: Bach: Made in Germany Vol. VII).

John Pike wrote (February 27, 2009):
[To Ladislav Furman] I forgot to mention Hickox's excellent recording as well.

Jens F. Laurson wrote (February 27, 2009):
Ladislav Furman wrote:
< I would like to have real CD [of the BMM] for a change :-) I have so far recordings by Gardiner, Herreweghe, Koopman and Suzuki.
Which recording would learned members of this list recommend to me? >
here's a review that compares the Veldhoven against the Suzuki which you might find helpful, especially since you already know the Suzuki. http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/12/bachs-mass-in-b-minor.html

If you read it, you'll find that I strongly second the Veldhoven-choice of B.Lehmann & Philip P..

The Minkowski BWV 232 is terrific, as well. (Down to the birds chirping between the movements.) While I wouldn't place it above the Veldhoven, it's certainly among the top choices.

Both those are OVPP, but both, I think, transcend the ideological part of that by sheer excellence in music-making. Both have enormous thrust.

That said, I quite like me a bit of "old fashioned" B-Minor Mass performance, too, and here I think Richter and Rilling are top-notch.
(Both are mentioned and linked-to in the review.)

Finally, since you'd like something to hold in your hand this time:
the Minkowski BMM and the Veldhoven BMM are ***lavishly*** produced.Nothing will beat the gorgeous sturdy, gold-printed box with CD-digipack and 300 page booklet of the Veldhoven / Channel Classics Set. It's just fun to hold. But the Minkowski has superb production values, too. An open 'book-style' CD set with extremely high quality paper for the booklet (fun to touch--I'm mad I forgot to ask Minkowski to sign it with ink when I spoke to him in Salzburg), which are thread-bound... very neat, also.

Uri Golomb wrote (February 27, 2009):
John Pike wrote:
< I'm not sure that I would regard myself as a learned member, but the OVPP recording by Cantus Coelln directed by Junghaenel, is very good and has been widely praised on this list. I am also very keen on Hengelbrock, Gardiner (worth having on CD as well as mp3), Harnoncourt and, for a more traditional recording, Jochum. >
I concur with most of John's recommendations - those listed below as well as the Hickox (and not because he described me as the top expert on the Mass...

For the record, I indeed wrote a PhD on recordings of this work - see http://snipr.com/ugphd_abs for details and link to the complete text). Three caveats:

1) While I greatly enjoy the Cantus Cölln version, it's not one of my top favourites; and for a version which similarly employs OVPP scoring in many passages, I would rather recommend the more recent Jos Van Veldhoven version. (Not forgetting, of course, the true pioneers - Rifkin, still the only fully one-per-part Mass, and Parrott. However, I personally feel that Rifkin and Parrott have both done better in their later Bach recordings than in their respective BMMs).

2) I love many moments in the Gardiner version, but on the whole I wouldn't recommend it. And I say this is a Gardiner admirer. I find his 1980s BMM clipped, rushed and rough - not always, but often enough to be wary of it. I feel that, if he were to re-record the work now, post-Pilgrimage, he'd do much better (the snippets I heard on the radio from recent live performances also suggest as much).

3) John cites Harnoncourt - but Harnoncourt made two recordings of the Mass, in 1968 and 1986, and they are so different from each other that it's difficult to believe that the same director is responsible for both. To my taste, Harnoncourt's 1968 version (the first version ever to employ period instruments) is rather dull and uninspired - though it does have its moments; whereas his 1986 version is fascinatingly detailed and often very moving. Others, however, find the 1968 version refreshingly straightforward, while the 1986 version strikes them as heavily mannered. So, although, the 2nd Harnoncourt is one of my personal favourites, I wouldn't recommend it as a safe version. My advice: if you can, try before you buy. If you like his interpretations of the central triptych of the Credo (incarnatus-crucifixus-resurrexit), you'll probably like the whole thing.

I'd make a similar recommendation regarding another personal favourite of mine: the Thomas Hengelbrock version. Hengelbrock's is, like Harnoncourt's, a highly personalised interpretation. He tends, for example, for extremes of tempo: his First and Second Kyrie are both among the slowest on record, whereas his Domine deus is among the fastest. And it's not just tempi - you can also find with him both some of the smoothest and some of the sharpest phrases, and (expressively) he moves from dark brooding to electrifying jubilation (the extremes are arguably implicit in Bach's music, but Hengelbrock pushes them to greater extremes than others). Again, I personally love and am greatly moved by it - but other listeners might well find his approach exaggerated. So, again, try before you buy. I haven't heard the new Minkowski yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's rather similar in this respect to Hengelbrock (despite employing much smaller vocal forces - along the lines of Parrott, Junghänel and Veldhoven, if I understood correctly).

Herreweghe (the Harmonia Mundi version), Hickox and Veldhoven - among others - are "safer" recommendations; I daresay Suzuki is, too, even though I haven't heard it yet. Veldhoven, in particular, has breathtakingly beautiful moments in those bits where he employs one-per-part forces; dare one hope that someone else will follow in Rifkin's footsteps (maybe Rifkin himself) and produce a new, purely OVPP version?

And, of course, there are many, many fine versions I haven't mentioned here.

John wrote (February 27, 2009):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< 2) I love many moments in the Gardiner version, but on the whole I wouldn't recommend it. And I say this is a Gardiner admirer. I find his 1980s BMM clipped, rushed and rough - not always, but often enough to be wary of it. I feel that, if he were to re-record the work now, post-Pilgrimage, he'd do much better (the snippets I heard on the radio from recent live performances also suggest as much).
3) John cites Harnoncourt - but Harnoncourt made two recordings of the Mass, in 1968 and 1986, and they are so different from each other that it's difficult to believe that the same director is responsible for both. To my taste, Harnoncourt's 1968 version (the first version ever to employ period instruments) is rather dull and uninspired - though it does have its moments; whereas his 1986 version is fascinatingly detailed and often very moving. Others, however, find the 1968 version refreshingly straightforward, while the 1986 version strikes them as heavily mannered. So, although, the 2nd Harnoncourt is one of my personal favourites, I wouldn't recommend it as a safe version. My advice: if you can, try before you buy. If you like his interpretations of the central triptych of the Credo (incarnatus-crucifixus-resurrexit), you'll probably like the whole thing. >
In an interview with Gardiner that I read recently (in BBC Music Magazine I think), Gardiner was praised by the interviewer for his recording of the MBM. Gardiner replied quickly "Oh, we do it a lot better than that now."

The Harnoncourt recording I have is the 1986 one.

I don't have the Rifkin one. I'm not sure if it is still available. I have the Parrott, which is available at Budget price, in a box set with other major works, and it is, I think, very fine. I don't know Veldhoven or Minkovski but there seems to be a consensus around these two recordings.

Uri Golomb wrote (February 27, 2009):
I too doubt if Rifkin's BMM recording is currently available. Last time I checked, it was only available as a Warner Ultima re-issue without liner notes - a pity, since the original Nonesuch contained a 30+ pages book booklet with fascinating notes by the conductor.

The Parrott is indeed available in a budget re-issue. As I said, I personally feel that it's not Parrott's best - I find it a bit bland at times; I much prefer his recordings of the Magnificat, Easter and Ascension Oratorios, St John Passion, and - perhaps best of all - the Trauer-Ode and the two motets that got with it (his Boston readings of the Orchestra Suites and Triple Concerto are also highly enjoyable). However, I'm aware that his BMM, too, has many admirers. There are perhaps no recordings - not even the ones I referred to earlier as "safe" - that absolutely everyone loves...

BWV846-893 wrote (February 27, 2009):
My favorite recording of recent years has been Frieder Bernius' (Carus). Fresh, energetic, yet contemplative -- I don't know if I've heard a more spectacular "Cum Santo Spiritu." See the Gramophone review pasted in below (it was an editor's choice recording, March 2007).

MDT sells the recording for only J 20.00, or $29.
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//CARUS83211.htm

In case you didn't notice, several weeks ago Paul Dirmeikis posted a link to a wonderful French site where you can listen to Minkowski's new recording (and many other recordings) in streaming audio. Registration
free: http://www.musicme.com/#/Jean-Sebastien-Bach/albums/Messe-En-Si-08221860\51450.html

A refreshing approach makes this the most striking B minor Mass in years

Following the conventional trappings of Helmuth Rilling's fourth account, reviewed last month, Frieder Bernius gives us a Mass which neither sits obediently in the groove of seasoned reverence nor resorts to well worn and predictable period reflexes. It is a reading whose invigorating momentum is underpinned by a confident bass presence (literally, you can hear the "front" of each double-bass note guiding the elegant opening Kyrie and percussive declamations in the "Cum Sancto Spiritu") and an immediacy which resolutely ignores the heavy burden of posterity from which performances regularly suffer. To say that the buoyant, syncopated concertante-like second Kyrie heralds an iconoclastic journey would be an exaggeration but Bernius knowingly approaches the Latin text as a means of liberating the abstract brilliance and lyricism inherent in Bach's great edifice. The "Et in terra pax" is exquisitely judged with every one of those aspiring figures each yielding a little more ambition, as is the case in the urgent "Gratias agimus" - though perhaps too driven for some. The same is true in both the "Qui sedes" and Agnus Dei (despite the introduction being alarmingly faster than the initial vocal strains), sung by the refined Daniel Taylor, where both are approached with an easy and open-ended fluidity which avoids the obvious pit-falls of "stop-start" between solo movements and the virtuoso ensemble "concerti". Bernius repeatedly seeks a close alliance between his singers and instrumentalists with eloquent arched lines and yet without an obsession for homogeneity at the expense of individual character in the ensemble. Compared to the highly manicured and pre-determined voicings of Philippe Herreweghe's two accounts, the weight of choruses in "Part 2" unfold with an impressive sense of singular identity: the "Crucifixus" is given an unselfconscious and gently accentuated reading, the chromatic ground and the flute and string "pointings" instinctively realised. If the "Confiteor" falls slightly short, the large choruses are open-breathed and thrilling. The Stuttgart Chamber Choir are full of vim and alertness and the trumpet playing is cataclysmically brilliant throughout. Of the solo singers, special mention must be made of the bass, Raimund Nolte, whose soft-grained "Et in Spiritum Sanctum" stands out, though it is the effect of the combined ingredients which makes this the most striking and satisfying Mass in B minor to have appeared in years.
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Uri Golomb wrote (February 27, 2009):
bwv846_893 wrote:
"My favorite recording of recent years has been Frieder Bernius' (Carus)."
While not being one of my absolutely favourites, I did enjoy this recording very much as well! It's one of the recordings I thought of when I mentioned the many fine recordings I had no space to enumerate.

"In case you didn't notice, several weeks ago Paul Dirmeikis posted a link to a wonderful French site where you can listen to Minkowski's new recording (and many other recordings) in streaming audio. "
Thanks for the reminder. I now listened to some extracts from it - based on the few movements I've heard (which include the Crucifixus, Resurrexit and Et expecto), this might well become one of my personal favourites. I hope I'll find the time to listen to the whole thing soon - in any case, I'm likely to buy it.

Ladislav Furman wrote (February 27, 2009):
Thank you all for all your recommendations, it was really a revelation of how many great recordings are out there :)

Glen Arnstrong wrote (February 28, 2009):
[To bwv846_893] Thanks for the link to "MusicME". I missed the message from Paul Dirmeikis, so the reminder is most welcome. What a site! Hard to believe it's legal. I'm listening to the entire Minkowski BMM right now.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 28, 2009):
>The Minkowski BWV 232 is terrific, as well. (Down to the birds chirping between the movements.)<
If the birds are chirping between movements, are they not chirping during the movements, as well? Is it a live performance, or are the birds artificially added in between?

John Pike wrote (February 28, 2009):
[To Uri Golomb] I had understood this point, Uri, and I agree with everything you wrote in your e mail below and in the previous one.

Many thanks to all those who have recommended the Bernius, Veldhoven and Mynkovski recordings of the MBM. I have decided to get them all! I have a very large number of already, but these do seem to come very highly recommended. For those living in the UK, the Bernius (Carus) is available on MDT but not, so far as I can see, on Amazon.co.uk. The Mynkovski will be available on Amazon.co.uk later in March.

Jens F. Laurson wrote (February 28, 2009):
Recommended recordings of BMM (Birds in my Passion)

Ed Myskowski wrote:
> If the birds are chirping between movements, are they not chirping during the movements, as well? Is it a live performance, or are the birds artificially added in between? <
Well, presumably those birds are just as happily chirping along with the Bach than they are during movements. You just can't hear it.

They are not artificially added (that would be unspeakably gross), and it's not a live performance. But behind the church in S.d.Compostela is a huge tree and when the sun shines, all the Bach loving birds in and near the city congregate to listen and sing, undoubtedly in praise and for the glory of their creator(*). In their complex parts, they might even be said to perform one-chirp-per-part.

You can hear the same birds in the SDG-Gardiner recording from Compostela and one by Jordi Savall (I forget which one). But to hear them you might need concentration and good headphones... they're not so easily picked up as to be disruptive.

(* Birds, unlike I, are not atheists, apparently.)

Ruud van der Weele wrote (February 28, 2009):
[To Jens F. Laurson] I think it was the first CD, which I bought, in 1986. The violin sonates of Bach, performed by Ton Koopman and Monica Huggett. I love the the music and the cosy twittering of the sparrows outside the church.

John Pike wrote (February 28, 2009):
Jens F. Laurson wrote:
< In their complex parts, they might even be said to perform one-chirp-per-part.
they're not so easily picked up as to be disruptive.
(* Birds, unlike I, are not atheists, apparently.) >
This gave me a good laugh. Thanks.

However, on this one occasion, I think I might prefer three or even four chirps per part, especially if they are not too disruptive. Can birds share parts and what does one do if one or several of the birds (especially the Concertists) fall sick?

Neil Mason wrote (March 1, 2009):
< If the birds are chirping between movements, are they not chirping during the movements, as well? Is it a live performance, or are the birds artificially added in between? >
This reminds me of an occasion some years ago now in which I was participating in a recording of madrigals in a church in a small French village. Just at the end of a take there was a "cock-a -doodle-doo" from outside. Quick as a flash, the recording engineer said "coq au fin".

 

B minor Mass manuscript parts available on the Bach cantata website

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 18, 2009):
I provided Aryeh with a PDF of the manuscript parts to the B minor Mass that are housed in the Dresden State Library. That has been uploaded to the Bach cantata's website. The webpage is http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV232.htm and if you scroll to the bottom, you will see the new link for this item.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV232-MS.pdf

Don't you just love the Internet? :-)

Thanks and Happy Easter Season,

P.S. Nothing would make me happier than to locate and find other PDFs of Bach pieces and have them hosted. What a great resource that would be!

Evan Cortens wrote (April 18, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] That's excellent, thanks so much!

I agree, wouldn't it be excellent to be able to host Bach manuscripts on the web. The trouble with the Berlin manuscripts (about 95% of Bach sources) is that short of going there and photographing them yourself, the only way to get them is from the Saur microfilm. Unfortunately, while the music itself is not under copyright, the microfilm reproduction of it still is. (I know that pure reproductions of that sort are not copyrightable in the US [see:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp.], but the law in Germany must be different.)

I think our best chance is to just eagerly await the Bach-Archiv Leipzig's project to digitize all the sources, which as far as I know, is proceeding along...

Thanks again,

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 18, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] WOW!

This is a wonderful resource! Just flipping through the Soprano 1 part to see how the arias and choruses are marked, I encountered the homely little direction of "volti" - turn the page.

It would be a terrific exercise for us to work through these parts. It's the first time I've been able to see the manuscript evidence upon which the OVPP hypothesis rests.

Thanks.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 18, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I think our best chance is to just eagerly await the Bach-Archiv Leipzig's project to digitize all the sources, which as far as I know, is proceeding along... >
Only took the Dead Sea Scrolls project 50 years to release facsimiles of the originals to the public. Librarians and scholars are a possessive bunch.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 18, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Only took the Dead Sea Scrolls project 50 years to release facsimiles of the originals to the public. Librarians and scholars are a possessive bunch. >
I think there are quite a number of sources that are already digitally photographed that could be uploaded to the Bach cantata website, it would just take someone with lots of time that has access to them and a microfiche scanner. BTW I have found one of the keyboard pieces, and will send that to Aryeh later today.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 18, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I agree, wouldn't it be excellent to be able to host Bach manuscripts on the web. The trouble with the Berlin manuscripts (about 95% of Bach sources) is that short of going there and photographing them yourself, the only way to get them is from the Saur microfilm. Unfortunately, while the music itself is not under copyright, the microfilm reproduction of it still is. (I know that pure reproductions of that sort are not copyrightable in the US [see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp.], but the law in Germany must be different.)
You're right, the United States would never honor such a copyright, and for good reasons. But an interesting court case was settled recently in Germany over the newly discovered manuscript to Vivaldi's manuscript to "Montezuma." The court ruled against the BSA's claim to ownership of the intellectual property of the music.

< I think our best chance is to just eagerly await the Bach-Archiv Leipzig's project to digitize all the sources, which as far as I know, is proceeding along... >
Will they include other sources in this project, or will it be limited to those that in Leipzig? I don't know if Saur used the Leizpig sources or just those in Berlin and the BSA's collection.

Either way, I could host the images on my server (it resides in the United States) and Aryeh decided to link them, he wouldn't be liable. But doing the scans for these pieces would be a lot of work!!!

Evan Cortens wrote (April 18, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< You're right, the United States would never honor such a copyright, and for good reasons. But an interesting court case was settled recently in Germany over the newly discovered manuscript to Vivaldi's manuscript to "Montezuma." The court ruled against the BSA's claim to ownership of the intellectual property of the music. >
I certainly agree with your logic, but it wouldn't surprise me if K. G. Saur were to sue anyone who scanned their microfilms and made them available online.

< Will they include other sources in this project, or will it be limited to those that in Leipzig? I don't know if Saur used the Leizpig sources or just those in Berlin and the BSA's collection. >
My understanding is that they're working with the Berlin library to digitize all their sources (both old BSB stuff and the BSA stuff), and I would imagine, since they're right there, they'll be putting the Leipzig sources online as well. The Saur microfilms, however, are only of the Berlin sources, nothing else... The Leipzig chorale cantata parts have been microfilmed, but you have to request them from the museum directly.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 18, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow, in response to his original message] Does this include the earlier versions of the movements as well?

Evan Cortens wrote (April 18, 2009):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
< Does this include the earlier versions of the movements as well? >
Nope, the Dresden parts, copied by Bach himself from the autograph score, preserve the so-called "B minor Missa" of 1733, consisting only of the Kyrie and Gloria. The full "B minor mass" as we know it today is preserved in Bach's autograph score, which has recently been published in facsimile by Baerenreiter. While compositional models have been identified for nearly every movement of the entire piece (see p. xi in the new Rifkin edition, "Vorlagen zur Messe h-moll"), these models are either preserved in their own original sources, or have been lost.

While on this topic, it is interesting to note that when Bach comes back to the "B minor mass project" after 1733, he goes in and changes the first two mass movements as well, right in the score. One change that I can think of, off the top of my head, is replacing the solo transverse flute in the "Domine Deus" and its lombard rhythm with two recorders, without lombards.

Hope this helps,

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 18, 2009):
[To Evan Cortens] So, in other words, they do use the earlier versions of some of the movements, since Bach revised the Kyrie and Gloria sections in 1748-1749.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 18, 2009):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] My apologies, I believe I misunderstood your previous question, I had thought you were asking about the compositional models. Yes, the Dresden parts preserve the Kyrie and Gloria c. 1733, and do not incorporate any later revisions (as they were sent off to the Dresden court and were no longer in Bach's possession).

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 19, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow, in response to his original message] This is really amazing. There's something very personal about connecting to original scores. It's like you somehow know the composer a little bit better.

Thanks, Kim.

 

(mass in B-minor), what edition would you recommend?

Silvio Battagila wrote (April 28, 2009):
I was wondering if you could recommend me some editions of the great B-minor Mass. I know you all are very much into it and I read a lot about this great piece of art, but still can't make up my mind. I need you to spot out five editions which you highly enjoy, that's the most important feature... I've heard the Celibidache, the Giulini and some others (amongst which the Herreweghe and the Gardiner), but still did not find anything that could possibly convince me as definitively as I wish. The only one that turns out to be so good in my hears as to put it into a sort of "outstanding" cathegory is the Griskat one, with Wunderlich (also the recording is very good, so warm and flawless from any superfluous reverb...).

So, now it's up to you, if you want to help me. I'd be very greatful for your attention and advice.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 28, 2009):
[To Silvio Battaglia] I know you said edition, but I believe you meant recording... nevertheless, I'll answer both possible questions with the same answer: Joshua Rifkin.

His new edition of BWV 232, prepared for Breitkopf, is excellent, and fixes a lot of the problems in the NBA edition, mostly due to conflations of readings.

Recording-wise, I always find myself going back to Rifkin and the Bach Ensemble's disk on Nonesuch records, I believe it's still available for purchase on CD.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 28, 2009):
Silvio Battaglia wrote:
< The only one that turns out to be so good in my hears as to put it into a sort of "outstanding" cathegory is the Griskat one, with Wunderlich (also the recording is very good, so warm and flawless from any superfluous reverb...). >
This was first recording of the work which I heard as a teenager. I remember being astonished at the change of tempos which Richter promoted in his landmark Archive recording. Now even Richter sounds sluggish.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 28, 2009):
[To Silvio Battaglia] The recording with Peter Schreier conducting, the one with the Thomanerchor Leipzig, and the one with the Dresdner Kreuzchor.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 28, 2009):
Silvio Battaglia wrote:
< I was wondering if you could recommend me some editions of the great B-minor Mass. I know you all are very much into it and I read a lot about this great piece of art, but still can't make up my mind. I need you to spot out five editions which you highly enjoy, that's the most important feature... >
Read Uri Golomb's dissertation.

Five of my favorites: van Veldhoven, Parrott, Junghanel, Herreweghe (2nd one), Leonhardt.

But I also wouldn't want to leave out Hengelbrock, Fasolis, 1st Herreweghe, Klemperer, Rifkin, both of Harnoncourt's, Muller-Bruhl, Christophers, ....

Silvio Battagila wrote (April 28, 2009):
[To Douglas Cowling] Yes DOug, ofcourse I meant recording... thank you so much, its poor English, not my meaning being so unappropriate...

That looks like a good try, hopefully I'll get it somehow here in Europe. I am not that fussy with extremely philological editions, but I am pretty sure that this is a good and worthwhile listening, also because he originated such a great wave of musicologists and conductors... must be so great!

thank you again.

I'd also be very pleased to know if there are other older editions which you find worth having, resisting to the time and the Rifkinian illuminating view... whether for the singers or for the particularly inspired conduction (I'm not scared by old recordings of the 30ies, but I stumbled in some Bach of the time which was hardly acceptable, sounding more Mahlerian than Mahler him-self....).

P.s.
Richter really does...

 

Mass in B minor BWV 232 - Revised & Updated Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 24, 2009):
Following the revised discographies of SMP & SJP, I am glad to inform you of the revised & updated discography of the Mass in B minor BWV 232 (MBM).

For the already existing recordings I have added exact recording date (not only month/year) and link/s to source of info/possible purchase sources.
I have done the deepest possible search over the web and discovered many dozens of unfamiliar recordings.
For each new recording I have built performer page (or updated existing performer page) and bio page for each artist (conductor, vocal & instrumental ensembles, vocal soloists) who took part in the recording. Many of them had to be translated from German or other languages.
I have added hundreds bios and updated many others. The number of musicians' (& poets') bios on the BCW in now over 6,200.

The 7 pages (a page for a decade) of the MBM discography linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV232.htm
175 complete (or near complete) recordings are now presented in the discography pages of the MBM (in the previous version there were 142).
That means that the MBM is currently the most recorded vocal work of J.S. Bach with the SMP close second (171 recordings).

Despite my efforts, the info presented for some of the recordings is only partial. Therefore, I would appreciate any help in making this discography (as well as other discographies on the BCW) even more comprehensive, updated and accurate by adding recordings, correcting errors and completing missing details.

Evan Cortens wrote (June 24, 2009):
This all looks excellent, thanks so much for your work! <>

All best and thanks again,

 

Continue on Part 17

Mass in B minor BWV 232: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17
Systematic Discussions:
Part 1: Kyrie | Part 2: Gloria | Part 3: Credo | Part 4: Sanctus | Part 5: Agnus Dei | Part 6: Early Recordings | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - C. Abbado | BWV 232 - Anonymous | BWV 232 - G.C. Biller | BWV 232 - F. Brüggen | BWV 232 - J. Butt | BWV 232 - S. Celibidache | BWV 232 - M. Corboz | BWV 232 - A. Eby | BWV 232 - G. Enescu | BWV 232 - E. Ericson | BWV 232 - D. Fasolis | BWV 232 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 232 - C.M. Giulini | BWV 232 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 232 - T. Hengelbrock | BWV 232 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 232 - R. Hickox | BWV 232 - R. Jacobs | BWV 232 - E. Jochum | BWV 232 - Ifor Jones | BWV 232 - K. Junghänel & Cantus Cölln | BWV 232 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 232 - R. King | BWV 232 - O. Klemperer | BWV 232 - S. Kuijken | BWV 232 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 232 - P. McCreesh | BWV 232 - M. Minkowski | BWV 232 - H. Müller-Bruhl | BWV 232 - S. Ozawa | BWV 232 - M. Pearlman | BWV 232 - K. Richter | BWV 232 - J. Rifkin | BWV 232 - H. Rilling | BWV 232 - H. Scherchen | BWV 232 - P. Schreier | BWV 232 - R. Shaw | BWV 232 - G. Solti | BWV 232 - M. Suzuki | BWV 232 - J. Thomas & ABS | BWV 232 - K. Thomas | BWV 232 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 [T. Noel Towe] | Bach’s B minor Mass on Period Instruments [D. Satz] | Like Father, Like Son [B. Pehrson]

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: ýNovember 3, 2009 ý11:04:05