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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
Conducted by Robert Shaw


J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor


Mass in B minor BWV 232

Robert Shaw

RCA Victor Chorale and Orchestra

Soprano 1: Anne McKnight; Soprano 2: June Gardner; Alto: Lydia Summers; Tenor: Lucius Metz; Bass: Paul Matthen

RCA Victor VDM 1145-46
RCA Victor


17 X 45's 78 rpm / TT:
3-LP / TT:

1st recording of Mass in B minor BWV 232 by R. Shaw.


J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Mass in B minor BWV 232

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw Chorale & Orchestra

Sopranos: Saramae Endich & Adele Addison; Contralto: Florence Kopleff; Tenor: Mallory Walker; Bass: Ara Berberian

RCA Red Seal

June 1960

2-CD / TT: 132:49

2nd recording of Mass in B minor BWV 232 by R. Shaw. Recorded at Manhattan Center, New York City, NY, USA. Mvts. 1, 4, 15-17, 20, 23, and 24 on Melodiya D-011937-38 [1 LP]
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J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Mass in B minor BWV 232

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra

Soprano: Unknown; Contralto: Florence Kopleff; Tenor: Seth McCoy; Bass: Unknown


Nov 1962

3-LP / TT:

3rd recording of Mass in B minor BWV 232 by R. Shaw. It was made on November 27, 1962 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. This recording was broadcast live throughout all the Iron Curtain countries over the state radio network. It was released in 1987 on 3-LP's Melodiya C10 26061 002. The soloists are not listed, but Florence Kopleff, contralto and Seth McCoy, tenor are definates.


Bach: Mass in B Minor

Mass in B minor BWV 232

Robert Shaw

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chamber Chorus

Soprano: Sylvia McNair; Mezzo-sopranos: Delores Ziegler, Marietta Simpson; Tenor: John Aler; Baritone: William Stone; Bass: Thomas Paul


Mar 1990

2-CD / TT: 117:51

4th recording of Mass in B minor by R. Shaw.
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Mass in B minor by Robert Shaw

Roy Reed wrote (April 26, 2001):
Under the heading of "old business," someone a while back asked for opinion on the B Minor Mass of Robert Shaw. It is a performance I like a lot. Actually I prefer HIP treatment for Bach, but I think that Shaw goes a long way to give a dynamic life to this music. He has fine singers.....One of my favorites in the mass is the "Laudamus te" and you will go a long way to hear it sung any better than Delores Ziegler sings it....and the opening long phrase in one a tempo more relaxed than one hears in other readings. Julianne Banse (Rilling) can also do it in one breath, but at a faster tempo. Veronica Gens (Herreweghe) can make you think that she does it in one breath, but she doesn't quite. She is very clever in this. Wish I could have gotten more singers to be able to do that. The fiddler on the Herreweghe version of this aria turns in a strangely twitchy performance I don't care for. In general I like the Herreweghe BMM very well, but when I just want it!

O lie back and let the music transport me....I turn to Shaw. He has, for me, the right tempos, fine singers, careful, clean, clear players, and a great sense of the architecture of the piece. He rather "experiments" with OVPP in some particularly appropriate sections, and I think that this comes off well. Also the whole is very dramatically satisfying to me. Not exactly the sound I want, but definitely the spirit.

When I was between my junior and senior years at university (1953) I enrolled in a summer term at San Diego State Univ. in a course titled "Workshop in Choral Art," which was taught by Shaw and musician/scholar Julius Herford. Herford did most of the teaching and he was at that point, Shaw's trusted guru. And he was some impressive heavy hitter. He illustrated continually at the piano, and always reading from the full orchestral/choral scores. Awesome! There were about 40 people in the class. We studied a lot of Bach, but also much else. Shaw was conducting the San Diego Symphony in a series of concerts that summer, and we did 2 major choral works. Most of the class members sang in the chorus, along with the local talent enlisted. We did the St. Jn. Passion and the Beethoven Missa Solemnes. Shaw was something to sing under.


# Shaw was a real student. He knew his music backwards and forwards....and he knew about the music.
# He was very meticulous. He worked hard in a rehearsal and so did the singers. When you finished a session with him you knew you had been somewhere. You were on your toes in rehearsal and went home exhausted. Not unhappy, but worn out.
# Shaw was personally easy-going. Not at all above having a beer with the hoi poilloi. And he had a unique one-handed way of crushing a beer can. He was not stuffy or full of himself, but in rehearsal he was all business. He could be very witty, but he went right at it, wasting no time.
# Shaw was in love with the music. He did not ham it up as a conductor, but for him the music was a dance of lovers....himself and the music. He was wonderfully at home in what he was doing.
#Shaw had a great ear... for what was happening with both singers and players

Shaw had a close connection with San Diego. His father was the pastor of a church a few blocks from our home. I recall as a boy (must have been 6th grade) singing in a children's choir directed by his mother in some sort of a summer program that parish had for local children. Shaw once referred to singing in his mother's choir as a way of making the point in rehearsal that sincerity is a second rate virtue. He recalled his mother cajoling the singers to better effort by putting more "spirit" into it. Shaw recalled saying to his mother: "Mom, the trouble is we are singing flat." Looking back at notes from this summer school I found a newspaper clipping of on the the rehearsal....and there I am in the front row of the tenors

Shaw had recorded the SJP (BWV 245) earlier, in 1951 I think. I still have the worn out LP’s. It is very good. He does his own translation into English, based on the old Drinker translations, but much better and a finer match with the original. He was good at this. He eventually did the same for the Creation of Haydn. This he recorded and there is a published score of his English translation. Very well done. When I conducted two performances of the SJP in 1985 I used the Shaw translation. A bit of a task since it is unpublished and I had to transcribe it into the Baerenreiter scores. Also I had a copy of the chorales with his translations which he had prepared and had distributed with programs to the San Diego audience so that any able and willing could sing wthe hymns. He turned and conducted the crowd. And there were many singing. I did the same, having duplicated his chorale booklet. I wish that this edition were published.


Bach Mass in B minor: Shaw / Rilling / Gardiner

Mark Zimmerman wrote (April 28, 2001):
Ok, first I want to thank everyone for there advice on Bach's Mass in B minor. As I said earlier I already have the Shaw & Gardiner. Now I have the Rilling and for me it goes to the head of the class. But, let me explain: the thing is I'm a fanatic for sound quality and the Gardiner just doesn't have it in this category (although it seems to be a more lively performance, something I really like). I have some expectation that on HIP recordings the sound may be a little drier due to the instruments, however I have several HIP recordings of other works where the sound is great. So for me I have a difficult time following the fugues in the Mass on Gardiner, something I really enjoy. Rilling on the other hand is using mostly modern instruments but scaled down at or near the HIP level. The sound given to him by Hanssler is wonderfully rich and detailed and I can follow everything in the work.

On my second listen-through of the Mass I decided to do the Kyrie on all three sets and start with the Shaw, ending up with the Gardiner just to see if I had judged things right. I had, however, this time I noticed that I was able to follow the Gardiner better (this right after listening to the Rilling). So, I guess it turns out that the Rilling will be my mainstay followed by either the Gardiner or Shaw. But, knowing myself I will probably remain loyal to the Rilling as I enjoyed it the most. Now if only Gardiner would re-record the piece with state-of-the-art sound.


Mammoth Mass

Sw Anandgyan wrote (January 13, 2004)):
After a couple of listens to the Cantus Cölln recording of the Mass in B Minor done OVPP, I came across the Robert Shaw IV on Telarc at one of those used CDs shop and indulged myself at third the price of what Crotchet is asking ...

I was intrigued by a member's comment on this album written years ago; bloated forces. I did remember because this person resonates to Enescu's versions on BBC Legends which I own too. I've been enjoying a musical foray in those grandiose take on the MBM with the likes of Otto Klemperer, Robert Shaw, Karl Münchinger and Karl Richter III.

There are some definite majestic movements that carry numinous momentums that I thrive for.

My first recordings were basically all HIP and I'm glad I ventured into discovering what stands for 'modern' recordings from from the second half of the 20th century. Granted I may not recommend them but I sure would not condemn them.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Robert Shaw' recording of the Mass in B Minor done in '90 because I was moved often. I find myself eagerly awaiting Maasaki Suzuki's take on this oeuvre as a possible alternative between the mammoth and the minimal forces.



Mass in B minor BWV 232: Details
Complete Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Recordings of 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 | Part 18
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]

Robert Shaw: Short Biography | Robert Shaw Chorale | RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra | Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - R. Shaw | BWV 243 - R. Shaw | BWV 245 - R. Shaw

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: Wednesday, July 05, 2017 07:52