Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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 4

Continue from Part 3

b-minor mass

Simon Crouch wrote (March 5, 2000):

This morning saw one of those lovely little defining moments in life: I put on the Gloria from the b-minor mass (loud!) and straight-away my little three-and-a-half year old daughter grabbed me by the hand and said "dance daddy!" - and we did!

Since this is a recordings list: it was Richter's 1961 version - superb.

Archimedes (Santu De Silva) wrote (March 6, 2000):

(To Simon Croch) Whoo-ar! Pretty much sums up how I feel about that work, and

especially that movement: the dance of the cosmos. Planets whirling in triple

time, incredible momentum (or should I say: angular momentum?) Good for the little lady!

Armagan Ekici wrote (March 9, 2000):

Another nice surprise related to the Gloria hit me recently-- I was in the concert hall, with the announcement of Gloria BWV 191 in the programme. Being the lazy scholar I am, I never registered in my mind that it is the source of Gloria in B Minor mass, and I was expecting to hear a totally new work. It was the opening piece of the concert and you can imagine my delight when one of my most favourite movements started! The orchestra was, BTW, Gardiner & Co.

Luis Villalba wrote (March 8, 2000):

Congratulations to Simon. The youn lady's instincts bode well for the future.

Heard about Bach in the concert hall corridors

Marie Jensen wrote (April 21, 2000):

After attending the b-minor mass (Herbert Blomstedt directing the Danish radio orchestra and choir) Good Friday in Copenhagen I heard in the corridor a gentleman say with much enthusiasm (try to translate): I can't stand Bach, but anyway - here I am!

Not going to make a review, just tell that every one looked so happy, when they left. Even later on the railway station, waiting for the train I'm sure I could point out who had been there or not. Oh, this Sebastian...

PS I look forward to Koopman the 5th of May, and Harry I shall not forget to write about it.

American Premiere of the Mass in B Minor

Ron Chaplin wrote (August 9, 2000):

Here is a bit of trivia you may find interesting. Yesterday, my family and I attended Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pa. While walking back to our car, we passed the Moravian Church. Walking by it, my wife noticed a bronze plaque. On the plaque, were the words, to the effect, that in 1900 Bach's Mass in B Minor had its American premiere at the church. Hmmmmmm.

Rien Pranger wrote (August 9, 2000):

(To Ron Chaplin) I just love those discoveries.

I visited Leipzig and found the place where Johann Sebastian Bach must have been buried on 31st July 1750. No memorial signs, nothing. But with an old map… it must have been on that spot...

Bach B minor mass in Ottawa

Anne Dubrofsky wrote (October 20, 2000):

The Carleton University Choir will perform Bach's Mass in B minor on Saturday, November 11, 2000 at 7 PM at St Matthew's Church, 130 Glebe Ave. Soloists are Teresa van de Hoeven, soprano; Daniel Taylor, counter-tenor; Michiel Schrey, tenor; and Paul Grindlay, bass-baritone, with orchestra, all under the baton of Dr Lisette Canton. Tickets are $20 (adults), $18 (seniors), $15 (students) and are available at HMV (Bank & Sparks), The Leading Note (Elgin & Frank), and The Book Bazaar (Bank & First), as well as from choir members.

This work, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, is being sponsored by the German community of Ottawa and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Best CD of mass in B Minor?

Valerie wrote (September 25, 2000):

Taste is subjective, of course, but...what do people consider the best available CD of Bach's Mass in B minor?  I.e. what would you recommend?

Darryl Clemmons wrote (September 26, 2000):

(To Valerie) I recommend you buy several.  For instance: Karajan (good performance with large forces and modern instruments), Herreweghe (one the top modern conductors), Rifkin (minimal forces), and maybe Suzuki (one of the up and coming newcomers).

I like Rifkin's opening Kyrie. Karajan does a marvellous job with the Cum Sancto Spiritu. The soloists with Herreweghe are excellent...etc...

I have yet to hear a definitive performance. My ideal CD would be a compilation of the best for each movement. I guess it is time to fire up the old CD burner...

Dina Lynn Kaye wrote (September 26, 2000):

(To Valerie) Joshua Rifkin/Bach Ensemble.

Ulissipo wrote (September 26, 2000):

Jochum is very good.

Jaap Hardy wrote (September 27, 2000):

I like a recording (made in 1984) by Andrew Parrot on LP, EMI Angel DSB-3975

Siro Imber wrote (September 28, 2000):

I can recommend you the "H-Moll Messe" by Karl Richter. His version is full of feelings and it is not too fast. He already works with the musicians and the choir since for years. They are really good.

Joel Warren Lidz wrote (September 28, 2000):

Parrott is perhaps best:  his choir is of a moderate size, whereas Rifkin uses one voice to a part and Richter is just the opposite, with anachronistically large choirs, albeit admirably clear for their size. Gardiner is pretty good though less lively and with larger choirs than Parrott. All in all, I would have to go with Parrott.

Rameda G.C. wrote (September 28, 2000):

(To Joel Warren) Despite the "anachronistically large choirs", I vote for the Richter version without hesitation.

I do not share the learned gentleman's enthusiasm for the Gardiner and/or Parrot's interpretation, and I found Rifkin's conception totally misguided and poorly realized.  In comparison to these three, even the Otto Klemperer recording is exemplary.

I'd definitely stick with Richter.

Sacredring wrote (October 24, 2000):

My personal favorite is Herreweghe's recording. However, I totally dislike the Gardiner recording. It was the first one I listened to but it sounds too wooden and "flat" -- almost like the instruments are made of stone or something.

Someone from Korea Telecom wrote (October 20, 2000): 2:53

I think Leonhardt is best in b-moll mass. It has all complete soloist available, Jacobs...
Also his passion recording is very good.

Charles Francis wrote (October 21, 2000):

(To Someone from Korea Telecom) Are you referring to the 1995 Leonhardt recording with La Petite Band? I rather like this recording, particularly the second CD, but I do find the tempo of some movements (e.g. the opening, too fast). The 1977 Helmuth Rilling recording, is much better from the tempo perspective, but his choir is rather large. However, I'm still waiting for the perfect performance, and I suspect when it comes, it will be of the "One Voice Per Part" variety.

Bas J. van Hengel wrote (October 24, 2000):

(To Charles Francis) The two most impressive recordings I know are the first one of Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi) (so not the one with the one-to-a-part-orchestra), that is when you like a very energetic, adventurous performance, and the recording by Frans Brüggen, Orchestra of 18th century (Philips) when you like a rather slow but monumental and expressive one.

Fanglin Thou wrote (October 24, 2000): 
(To Bas J. van Hengel) Herreweghe's first b minor Mass recording was made for Virgin (the HM is the second from him) and neither of his two accounts uses a one-per-part orchestra.  (Is it Rifkin's that you were thinking of?)  Agree about Brüggen's. 

Bas J. van Hengel wrote (October 25, 2000): 11:57

< Fanglin Thou wrote: Herreweghe's first b minor Mass recording was made for Virgin >
You're right about that. I just presumed it was HM as I taped it many years ago (sorry!).

< (the HM is the second from him) and neither of his two accounts uses a one-per-part orchestra. (Is it Rifkin's that you were thinking of?) >
Actually before yesterday I never heard this recording, it turns out to be very risky to trust on somebodyelses opinion: I listened to the new one this morning: it's amazing!!! Even more energetic and transparent as the first one! And it's certainly not Rifkin that I was thinking of. I heard his one-to-a-part cantatas: there's no way you can compare those with Herreweghe's!!!

Ross Doktor (October 25, 2000):

(To Someone from Korea Telecom) What does anybody think of the Parrot/Taverner Consort version with Emma Kirkby? I have high hopes for this version and I'm a big fan of Kirkby, but I heard the tempi are often over fast.

There are so many versions. I remember one I loved in my teens (back in the eighties) but I got it from the library and I can't remember who it is. I just bought two, the Rifkin version which is nice but with one vocalist per line sounds a bit restrained. Also the Richter version which I thought might be the one I was after but it's overly romantic and the Kyrie is far too slow. And the recording isn't very clear.

The Eliot-Gardiner version seems pretty well-liked, would that be better?

Also, who sings on the Leonhardt version?

I am confused and I can't get them all!

Matthew Westphal wrote (October 30, 2000):

< Charles Francis wrote: However, I'm still waiting for the perfect performance, and

I suspect when it comes, it will be of the "One Voice Per Part" variety. >

And, I predict, by Cantus Cölln. I just returned from the first week of the Bach 2000 component of the Melbourne Festival (17 concerts in 17 days); Cantus Cölln opened the series with a one-singer-per-part B- Minor Mass that was a KNOCKOUT!!

It's too bad that Harmonia Mundi recorded Herreweghe's (very good) Mass so recently; they're unlikely to want another one, however different, in their catalogue soon.

By the way, I'm told that Cantus Cölln's "Actus Tragicus" CD is Harmonia Mundi's top-selling Bach cantata recording -- more successful then even any of Herreweghe's cantata recordings.

Charles Francis wrote (October 31, 2000): 2:19

(To Matthew Westphal) Yes, it was Cantus Cölln I had in mind!

BWV 12 from their "Actus Tragicus" hints at the wonders to come. Surely someone recorded the Melbourne performance? Is there an MP3 file somewhere?

Johan van Veen wrote (October 31, 2000): 9:54

(To Matthew Westphal) The OVPP performance seems to become a new doctrine, I'm afraid. There may be historical arguments in favour of it as far as the cantatas are concerned, but since the B-minor Mass has never been performed in Leipzig these arguments are not valid in this case.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 1, 2000): 6:15

(To Johan van Veen) I disagree with you on this one. If you read the 'Essential Bach choir' by Andrew Parrot you will notice the situation in other German cities didn't differ that much. In fact OVPP seems to have been more or less the norm. The parts of the B-minor mass also seem to indicate OVPP performance.

Darryl Clemmons wrote (November 2, 2000): 6:33

(To Sybrand Bakker) Deftly skipping by the OVPP discussion, I would like to state: the Missa part of the B Minor Mass was completed long before the whole. He added the later sections to turn it into a "Catholic" mass. Additionally, the Sanctus existed separately. It was the custom at the time to sing the Latin stuff at Christmas. Hence, we have 4 Missa's, the Magnificat, and a few settings of the Sanctus. There is also Cantata BWV 191 which is a Latin setting of some of the movements from the Missa portion of the B minor mass.

The upshot of this is that portions of the B Minor Mass probably were performed at Leipzig as part of the Yuletide music. The mass in its entirety was in most likelihood never performed at Leipzig. I suspect Bach never performed his complete mass anywhere...

Teseo wrote (November 3, 2000): 3:32

(To Sybrand Bakker) Parrot point of view is largely questionable and rather extreme even if he has been able to achieve remarkable results following this practice. Other performers (Koopman, for example, or Rilling) strongly disagree with Parrott. We can only be sure that the number of performers was necessarily small but no certain proofs exist that Bach intended his choral compositions for performance by parti reali only.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 4, 2000): 12:57

(To Teseo) May I ask, whether you actually read the book? If you followed the debate between Koopman and Parrott you will note that Koopman consistently fails to bring up any real evidence, whether archival or iconographic, showing multiple persons are performing from one part. His main line of defence is he can't imagine Bach's music only requires one voice per part. Parrott on the other hand brings up archival and iconographic evidence, not only from Leipzig, but from other places as well. I have yet to see any people rejecting the OVPP theory coming up with any real evidence for multiple voices per part. Lack of imagination is no proof.

BRS36 wrote (November 4, 2000): 2:34
Is there any information about what choral works by other composers Bach heard?
I'd be interested in hearing about who these composers were, what works Bach
might have heard, and if Bach commented on these works. Is there an offline
source with such information in it?

Charles Francis wrote (November 4, 2000): 3:46

< BERS 36 wrote: Is there any information about what choral works by other composers Bach heard? >
According to Wolff, Bach copied, performed and examined numerous masses in the late 1730's and early 1740's including the Missa sine nomine by Palestrina, the Missa sapientiae by Antonio Lotti, a Mass in F by Giovanni Battista Bassani, and a Magnificat setting by Antonio Caldara.

Zachary Uram wrote (November 3, 2000): 10:53

< Darryl Clemmons wrote: Deftly skipping by the OVPP discussion, I would like to state: the Missa part of the B Minor Mass was completed long before the whole. He added the later sections to turn it into a "Catholic" mass. >
Argh. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO he did NOT make it a "Catholic" mass! Such a comment reflects NO understanding of Bach or the Lutheran faith. As Sybrand and others have pointed out numerous times on this group the Mass in B Minor is NOT a Catholic mass and Bach was certainly NOT a Catholic. SHEESH.

Teseo wrote (November 3, 2000): 3:32

< Zachary Uram wrote: Argh. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO he did NOT make it a "Catholic" mass! >
Why? As far as I know it has been written (at least in part) for a catholic court and a catholic prince.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 3, 2000): 8:12

(To Teseo) For once... just to avoid such blatantly incorrect conception is going to
spread again.

The Lutheran Church never abolished the Ordinary of the Mass and the Latin version of the Ordinary. On many places it was customary to sing the Ordinary in Latin. Except for the Credo all of them were always or occasionally sung in Latin. The same practice was observed in Leipzig, where it was customary to sing the Kyrie and Gloria in Latin, sometimes also the Sanctus. The combination of Kyrie and Gloria was sometimes called a Missa Brevis, as opposed to the Missa Tota, consisting of all 5 parts of the Ordinary. As to the text, the only thing that would have been really different was that a Lutheran Church probably would leave out the 'Filioque' in the Nicene Creed, for the rest there is absolutely no difference at all. Of all 5 parts of the B-minor Mass, only the Kyrie and Gloria were presented to August the Strong to obtain the title of court composer. Presenting it a to a roman-catholic monarch doesn't make the work catholic, while catholic just means common, and AFAIK all Protestant Churches (who according to the bishop of Rome can't be called a church) consider themselves as belonging to the catholic church as opposed to the roman
catholic church. In the form it was presented to August the Strong, it was a Missa Brevis and it could have been performed in any Leipzig church service without problem and absolutely no one would have objected. Anyone who is saying Bach wrote a catholic mass (where he is actually he is saying 'Bach wrote a Roman Catholic mass') fails to acknowledge the essence of Lutheran liturgy, and the history of Lutheranism. Luther didn't want a schism, he wanted reforms. Instead he was excommunicated by Rome, and banned. With this in mind it also clear Luther and his followers never abolished Mass.

The other movements of the B-minor Mass were not written with a practical purpose in mind. Obviously the work was intended as a Missa Tota, but there is no trace Bach strove for performancas a Missa Tota.

Ben Crick wrote (November 3, 2000): 11:45

< Sybrand Bakker wrote: The other movements of the B-minor Mass were not written with a practical purpose in mind. Obviously the work was intended as a Missa Tota, but there is no trace Bach strove for performance as a Missa Tota. >
Thank you, Sybrand, for a succinct and authoritative statement of the position. The congregational parts of the Mass do not contain matters of doctrinal dispute; only parts of the consecration prayer recited by the priest.

As far as I am aware, the Mass in b minor was never actually performed at a live celebration of the Mass; only as a concert version of the liturgical text. Some doubt that Bach himself ever heard it performed more than once in its entirety in his lifetime.

In 1903 Pope Pius X wrote a highly personal /Motu Proprio/ giving his gut feelings concerning settings of the Mass and church music in general. He was a reactionary Gregorian Chant enthusiast, who deprecated any concessions to modernity:

"Sacred music should... possess in the highest degree the qualities proper to the liturgy, and precisely sanctity and goodness of form, from which it's other character of universality spontaneously springs. It must be holy, and therefore, exclude all profanity not only in itself but also in the manner in which it is presented... The more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration, and savour the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes" (paras 2, 3).

"It is not permitted to have the chant preceded by long preludes or to interrupt it with intermezzo pieces. The sound of the organ as an accompaniment to the chant... must be governed not only by the special nature of the instrument but must participate in all
the qualities proper to sacred music..." (paras 17, 18).

"The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy and frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like" (para 19).

As Erik Routley points out, Pius X demanded that the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc should be composed as continuous pieces, and not as a series of individual separate pieces complete in themselves. Beethoven's Mass in D conforms to this requirement, but Bach's Mass in b minor definitely does not (/The Church and Music, / London
1950, pp 194ff).

Charles Francis wrote (November 4, 2000): 5:00
< Teseo wrote: Why? As far as I know it has been written (at least in part) for a
catholic court and a catholic prince. >
Yes, that's correct, the Mass was written for the Roman Catholic liturgy. The musicologist Christoph Wolff notes that the abbreviated Mass (Kyrie, Gloria) was of the preferred type for use at the Roman Catholic Dresden court church and was performed their in July 1733 (the performance parts still exist and there is no evidence of any earlier performance). The set was offered to the court after the performance with the inscription on the title wrapper "To his Royal Majesty and Electoral Highness of Saxony, demonstrated with the enclosed Mass for 21 voices, 3 violins, 2 sopranos, alto, tenor, bass, 3 trumpets, timpani, 1 hunting horn, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, violoncello, and continuo-his most humble devotion, the author, J.S. Bach" (this would seem to kill-off the OVPP-authenticity theory, by the way).

Bach's elaboration of the work towards "THE GREAT CATHOLIC MASS" is described in: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/0028724755/artvisitwww/028-1775158-4730925

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 4, 2000): 10:24

(To Charles Francis) It was customary at that time first to list the total number of parts (here 21), and then to specify them. If you refer to Wolff, you will see that the specification exactly adds up to 21. So much for your theory there were 21 voices necessary, this is again blatantly wrong. All composers from Monteverdi to Mozart, use the designation 'a <nn>' for the total number of parts.

Just to show how you filter out everything that doesn't suit you, I will quote the larger part of Wolff p. 368 verbatim (with the exception of the sentence starting on p. 367)

Referring to a visit of the elector to Leipzig Wolff writes:

The two-hour bi-confessional service must have included music, although no particulars are known. Latin Church music, however, would have been most appropriate, and a Kyrie-Gloria Mass would have been equally acceptable to Lutheran and --Roman-- Catholic constituencies. (Bold -- are my stresses)
(.... rest of details of conjectured Leipzig performance left out) On the other hand, the Mass was definitely performed at the Saxon capital in July 1733, as evidenced by the extant Dresden performing parts and by the inscription on the title wrapper in which the set was offered to the court after the performance: "To His Royal Majesty and Electoral Highness of Saxony, demonstrated with the enclosed Mass - for 21 [voices] so [voices] added by Wolff!!
3 violins
2 sopranos
(1) alto
(1) tenor
(1) bass
3 trumpets
(1 pair of) timpani
1 hunting horn
2 transverse flutes
2 oboes
2 bassoons
(1) violoncello and
(1) continuo (part)
(---
21 voices)
-- his most humble devotion, the author, J.S. Bach

(All numbers between parentheses added by me)

I checked the URL, and of course you are referring to the book of Stauffer, who was a chapter 8 entitled "The Great Catholic Mass" (mark the double-quotes). Why would Stauffer enclose this in quotes? Any answer to this quiz question?

Evidently both your assertions are wrong. There is no proof whatsoever Bach specified a choir of 21 people, and there is no evidence whatsoever Bach wrote a *Roman*-Catholic Mass You are purposively misreading Wolff because his findings don't suit you.

Charles Francis wrote (November 3, 2000): 3:58

(To Zachary Uram) While the above appears to be a matter of disagreement among the experts, the discerning listener can but note that Bach's song to the Mother of God
is probably his most joyous work.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 3, 2000): 11:18

(To Charles Francis) You are again blatantly wrong! Did you ever read the Magnificat? Then you should have known the Magnificat is a hymn sung by Mary, not to Mary. Either you are completely ignorant on this subject, or you are purposively making comments, which many will consider annoying and blaspheming. In fact, the only reason you post these comments, of which you well know they are completely wrong, is to irate people and to provoke a flame war.

Zachary Uram wrote (November 3, 2000): 9:10

< Charles Francis wrote: While the above appears to be a matter of disagreement among the experts, the discerning listener can but note that Bach's song to the Mother of God is probably his most joyous work. >
If you are referring to the Magnificat your conjecture Bach wrote it TO Mary is absurd speculation. The text is in no way indicative of Mary though this may have been a use of it in the Catholic church the Latin text itself can be reapplied (as Bach
is famous for doing) to whatever END one wants. Bach was not a Maryolotrist so don't go there. And Mary was the mother of Jesus, the Son of Man NOT Jesus, the Son of God that part of Jesus was imbued by the Father through the Holy Spirit. Catholics have an entire sub-religion devoted to Mary and it is without Scriptural foundation. Mary was NOT sinless, she is NOT the Co-Mediatrix between God and Man, she was NOT translated into Heaven and she is NOT the Mother of the aspect of Christ which is God. She was used mightily by God by deification of her is VERY wrong. Just as wrong are your suppositions into Bach's motives in this work. And thought I LOVE the Magnificat I would not classify it as Bach's most "joyous" work, which itself is a very subjective term and there are many different TYPES of joy one could identify in Bach's music.

Zachary Uram wrote (November 5, 2000): 10:59

<<Brs36 wrote: Is there any information about what choral works by other composers Bach heard? >>
< Charles Francis wrote: According to Wolff, Bach copied, performed and examined numerous masses in the late 1730's and early 1740's ithe Missa sine nomine by Palestrina, the Missa sapientiae by Antonio Lotti, a Mass in F by Giovanni Battista Bassani, and a Magnificat setting by Antonio Caldara. >
It is impossible to have discourse with you on this Charles. In spite of several people correcting you and explaining WHY your statements were wrong you ignore them and plod on with the same faulty reasoning. Like an ox running off a cliff. Very sad. It would be an exercise in futility to attempt further discourse on this subject with you. To anyone who has studied these issues it is evident Bach did NOT write this as a "Catholic" mass nor part of the "Catholic liturgy." Rome did not accept works from Lutheran composers and Bach had no predilections for Catholicism. One can only speculate on why you would persist in these delusions. I hope someday you will see the truth.

Sybrand Bakker wrote (November 6, 2000):

<< Sybrand Bakker wrote: The parts of the B-minor mass also seem to indicate OVPP
performance. >>
< Teseo wrote: It seems not, IMHO. The B minor Mass has more than 20 parts. Using
only four voices would lead to a some disequilibrium between singers and instruments, particularly when trumpets and timpani are employed. >
Which assumes the voices should outweigh the instruments, which may well be a false assumption. If you listen to the OVPP Rifkin recording you will notice trumpets and timpani do not outweigh the voices, both baroque trumpet and baroque timpani being completely different instruments compared to the modern ones. A similar case exists with the 2nd BB concerto.

Matthew Westphal wrote (November 7, 2000):

<< Sybrand Bakker wrote: If you listen to the OVPP Rifkin recording you will notice trumpets and timpani do not outweigh the voices, >>
< Teseo wrote: A recording is a very different matter from a live performance. In the studio (even if the studio is actually a church with a good acoustics) you can do anything you like. In Karl Richter's recording of the 2nd BB - just to take an extreme example - you can hear the treble recorder playing together with the modern Sib small trumpet, an experience impossible on live. >
Well, yes, it is certainly possible for engineers to "doctor" the balance in recordings. (For instance, it has been mentioned in other threads on this group that many of Koopman's cantata recordings are very heavily edited and doctored.)

On the other hand, Rifkin has always said, ever since 1981 or 1982 when that B-Minor Mass recording was made, that the balance on the recording is natural and was not altered in any way -- that there were a few microphones placed in central locations to pick up everything, so there was no way to electronically alter the balance. People have certainly accused Rifkin of doctoring the balances, but in all the years since the recording was made, no one who was involved has come forward and
said, "yes, those balances were altered." If they had been altered, I should think someone would have come forward and confessed to it by now -- and I'm quite sure that, if there had been such a confession, those most hostile to single-voice Bach (such as Ton Koopman and Robert Marshall) would have made sure the world knew about it.

Teseo wrote (November 7, 2000): 6:00
< Sybrand Bakker wrote: May I ask, whether you actually read the book? >
Of course.

< Parrott on the other hand brings up archival and iconographic evidence, not only from Leipzig, but from other places as well >
I am only partially convinced by Parrott's arguments. Surely he made an
invaluable work, his book is a mine of information on the music practice in
Germany at Bach's times. I liked it very much. However, Parrott has been
able only to justify his method to perform Bach's vocal works, he has not
been able to confute the method followed by other performers.

Darryl Clemmons wrote (November 7, 2000): 7:08
(To Charles Francis) One of the basic tenants of Luther was the priesthood of all believers. This means it is up the individual to decide for himself right or wrong. It allowed the believers to interpret the scriptures for themselves. Consequently, Bach was not bound by the writings of one man. The gist of what I am driving at was Luther was not the Pope of Lutheranism. I believe the most likely choice is (3).

You seem to think Bach worshipped Luther. There is no evidence of this. Bach had his own opinions. He was well read in the area of religious theology. You need to examine the books Bach had in his private library. Then you will have a better understanding of Bach perspective.

Darryl Clemmons wrote (November 7, 2000): 7:16
(To Matthew Westphal) Doctoring of recordings has been going on for a long time. For example, Glenn Gould often replayed portions and then spliced to make a processed sound. I am sure Rifkin tried to make the best use of all resources to make a good recording. So what if he doctored the balances. Is this any different than the physical placement of orchestra in relation to the singers? I can't imagine it would be earth shattering if a balance was altered. What we do today doesn't prove what happened back in Bach's time.

Teseo wrote (November 10, 2000):

< Sybrand Bakker wrote: "To His Royal Majesty and Electoral Highness of Saxony, demonstrated with the enclosed Mass - for 21 [voices] so [voices] added by Wolff!! 3 violins >
2 violins, 1 viola. Continuo count for 2 (violoncello + organ, violoncello doesn't have a separate part). Total 21. Wolff is very inaccurate in reporting the score of the Missa.

Thomas J. Wood wrote (November 14, 2000): 8:30

< Teseo wrote: 2 violins, 1 viola. Continuo count for 2 (violoncello + organ, violoncello doesn't have a separate part). Total 21. Wolff is very inaccurate in reporting the score of the Missa. >
The Mass requires no less than three violins. The aria "Laudamus te" features a solo violin AND violino I and II. Did one of the those violinists sit and do nothing for the rest of the work? Of course not. Bach liked to use 2-3 violins per part (even Parrott would agree).

Thomas J. Wood wrote (November 15, 2000): 6:58

< Darryl Clemmons wrote : How can Parrott have at least three violins per part and only one singer per part? Even baroque violins are not this soft. It would seem a little unbalanced to me... >
Parrott uses a string ensemble in his recording of 3-3-2-2-1. Soloists sing with ensembles that large, or larger, all the time in baroque music. As often as not, Parrott uses ripienists in the choruses, so only a few are sung OVPP throughout. The balances seem fine, although the trumpets play with rather more restraint than in some recordings (but not as much as in Rifkin's recording, where the trumpets sound like they're in the next room).

Parrott is probably more authentic than Rifkin: it's doubtful Bach would have found one violinist per part satisfactory in this richly-scored work.

Fang Lin wrote (November 19, 2000): 6:13
< Jim Groeneveld wrote: (snip) In order to make things more (or less) complicated: do you all know that the word "catholic" actually is NOT a synonym for "roman", but that is means "general"? In protestant churches (at least in the Netherlands) in the Apostles' Creed faith in a holy general christian church (or whatever the English translation would be) is confessed, where the roman confession refers to 'catholic' for 'general'.

That is where the association between 'roman' and 'catholic' comes from. But it isn't a valid association. The word 'catholic' itself may as well be associated with protestantism; it has been in the past. I would be interested to know how these terms are used and interpreted in the history of English, German and Italian language countries.
Thus it quite possible that the Mass in B minor is a catholic (or general) mass and yet has a protestant origin and purpose. >
So far I have found this interpretation proposed by Jim
most convincing regarding what CPE Bach meant by a
"Catholic" Mass (in b minor).

Recordings in the Thomaskirche

Aya Itoi wrote (December 9, 2000):

<< Teri Noel Towe wrote (December 1, 2000): I am unclear about this posting. Do you mean to say that one can download these recordings from a website? >>
< Charles Franwrote (December 9, 2000): No such luck, I'm afraid! >
<< If not, is there any way that I can work a deal with you to get copies that could be played on USA equipment? >>
< Copyright issues aside, I very much I doubt there is any company here that could translate a tape to the US format. Your best chance is to contact the company that holds the copyright for these recordings and negotiate/order a legal copy. You'll find
details at: http://www.24hoursbach.com/
I only have 8-hours from the 24 so I'd also be pleased to buy some of the recordings in European format if such an option exists. >
For all I know - the last concert of the BachFest at the Thomaskirche, which was the B Minor Mass, will be available in the market on video and also DVD (and I believe in both the European and US formats) in the future. At least that was the plan when it was being recorded in July.

Mass in B - Recordings of

Thomas Boyce wrote (January 10, 2001):

I'm happy with John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the Mass in B Minor, but I'm
about due for another one.

I've heard good things about Michel Corboz on the Erato label, but any recommendations are welcome.

Donald Satz wrote (January 10, 2001):

(To Thomas Boyce) My favorite B Minor is Leonhardt on DHM, followed by Gardiner, Pearlman on Telarc, and Parrott on EMI who uses the one voice per part approach.

Bob Sherman wrote (January 10, 2001):

(To Thomas Boyce) Richter is magnificent if you can live with excessive trumpets. I also like Marriner a lot.

Peter Petzling (Evangelical Human Care) wrote (January 10, 2001):

There is an outstanding recording of the Mass in b on the Thorofon Label. Directed by Jörg Straube with the NORDDEUTSCHER FIGURALCHOR and the Camerata Hannover. This recording was made in conjuncton with the 750th anniversary of the Marktkirche SS Georgii et Jacobi in Hannover. The Figuralchor is honed by some 20 years of steady performance in the a capella tradition under Straube. Does anyone have any comments on Jörg Straube ?

BTW, "Thorofon" is an audiophile label of the highest quality.

If you would endulge me for one additional plug ; Thorofon has a splendid disk entitled : "475 Jahre Reformation" [CTH 2267] in its series: THURINGIA CANTAT --
done by the 'Thueringischer Akademischer Singkreis' directed by Wolfgang Unger. The highlight of the disc is BWV 4 - "CHRIST LAG IN TODES BANDEN" - an appropriate thematic with an eye on the upcoming Easter Season.

There is an enunciative strength AND calm in this rendition of BWV 4 that you will cherish the more often you hear it. As a bonus you will find a deeply moving choral motette by JOHANN BACH (1604-1673) a great uncle of J.S. BACH from the ERFURT-line of the Bach family, on the same disc. It bears the title:

UNSER LEBEN IST EIN SCHATTEN AUF ERDEN (Alt-Bachisches Archiv)

The recording was made in the Jesus Christus Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem - a rather famous venue in the recording history of the Deutsche Grammophon label.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is familiar with this disc.

Peter Bright wrote (January 10, 2001):

(To Thomas Boyce) I only have two versions of the b minor mass - Andrew Parrot on Virgin and Karl Richter on Archiv. I have lived far longer with the former version, having bought the Richter just a few weeks ago. Both are superb, but obviously very different in interpretation. In a recent interview Masaaki Suzuki expressed his admiration for Richter, admitting having worn out his copies of his B minor mass. It was nice to read this from somebody so committed to historically informed practices. I've been nurturing an increasing interest in Richter's Bach performances over the last months. While it is true that his stubbornness in ignoring the increasing fashion for (apparent) period practices, tended to emphasise his relatively austere, strident approach in the late seventies, the quality of much of his work remains astonishing. I now possess a number of his cantatas, the Magnificat and St Matthew Passion, all of which are gloriously emotive (the brilliance of the trumpets is something to behold).

One thing I think Richter and Suzuki share is their attention to the words - in turn, demonstrating just how carefully Bach weaved the music in such a way as to emphasise the message. In Richter's case, the choice of some of the greatest singers of 20th century obviously helped - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Peter Schreier, Ernst Häfliger, Maria Stader, etc.

Thomas Boyce wrote (January 10, 2001):

(To Peter Bright) Thanks! I have Richter's Magnificat and the music fairly leaps out of the speakers. A triumph!

Matthew Westphal wrote (January 11, 2001):

(To Thomas Boyce) I'd recommend Herreweghe's second recording (the one on
Harmonia Mundi France) for a period-instrument version with (small) choir.

Rifkin's solo-voice version (originally on Nonesuch; now re-issued on Erato, I believe) is very much worth hearing, even though the technical standard of instrumental playing isn't what we're used to now. (The standard is about equal to that of early Harnoncourt/Concentus Musicus Wien recordings.) Parrott's partially solo-voice version (much better instrumental playing) is also worth having, if you can
find it - it's on EMI/Virgin, and thus out of print more often than in print.

Continue to Part 5


 

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: ýMarch 31, 2004 ý23:49:34