Bach structured the work in four parts: . The four sections of the manuscript are numbered, and Bach's usual closing formula S. Some parts of the mass were used in Latin even in Lutheran Leipzig, and Bach had composed them: five settings of the Missa , containing the Kyrie and the Gloria , and several additional individual settings of the Kyrie and the Sanctus. To achieve the Missa tota , a setting of the complete text of the mass, he combined his most elaborate Missa, the Missa in B minor, written in for the court in Dresden , and a Sanctus written for Christmas of
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The composition was completed in , the year before the composer's death, and was to a large extent based on earlier work, such as a Sanctus Bach had composed in Sections that were specifically composed to complete the Mass in the late s include the "Et incarnatus est" part of the Credo. As usual for its time, the composition is formatted as a Neapolitan mass , consisting of a succession of choral movements with a broad orchestral accompaniment, and sections in which a more limited group of instrumentalists accompanies one or more vocal soloists.
Among the more unusual characteristics of the composition is its scale: a total performance time of around two hours,  and a scoring consisting of two groups of SATB singers and an orchestra featuring an extended winds section, strings and continuo. Even more exceptional, for a Lutheran composer such as Bach, is that the composition is a Missa tota. The Mass was likely never performed in its entirety during Bach's lifetime.
Its earliest documented complete performance took place in Five months of mourning followed, during which all public music-making was suspended. Bach used the opportunity to work on the composition of a Missa , a portion of the liturgy sung in Latin and common to both the Lutheran and Roman Catholic rites.
Upon its completion, Bach visited Augustus III in Dresden and presented him with a copy of the Kyrie—Gloria Mass BWV I early version , together with a petition to be given a court title, dated July 27, ; in the accompanying inscription on the wrapper of the mass he complains that he had "innocently suffered one injury or another" in Leipzig.
In the last years of his life, Bach expanded the Missa into a complete setting of the Latin Ordinary. It is not known what prompted this creative effort. Wolfgang Osthoff and other scholars have suggested that Bach intended the completed Mass in B minor for performance at the dedication of the new Hofkirche in Dresden , which was begun in and was nearing completion by the late s. However, the building was not completed until and Bach's death in July prevented his Mass from being submitted for use at the dedication.
Instead, Johann Adolph Hasse 's Mass in D minor was performed, a work with many similarities to Bach's Mass the Credo movements in both works feature chant over a walking bass line, for example. Stephen's Cathedral which was Roman Catholic on St. The chronology of the Mass in B minor has attracted extensive scholarly attention. Recent literature suggests:. Bach did not give the B minor Mass a title. Instead, he organized the —49 manuscript into four folders, each with a different title. That containing the Kyrie and Gloria he called "1.
Missa "; that containing the Credo he titled "2. Symbolum Nicenum "; the third folder, containing the Sanctus, he called "3. Sanctus "; and the remainder, in a fourth folder he titled "4. Osanna Benedictus Agnus Dei et Dona nobis pacem ". John Butt writes, "The format seems purposely designed so that each of the four sections could be used separately.
Further, Butt writes, "What is most remarkable about the overall shape of the Mass in B Minor is that Bach managed to shape a coherent sequence of movements from diverse material. The first overall title given to the work was in the estate of the recently deceased C.
Bach, who inherited the score. It is called that as well in the estate of his last heir in , suggesting to Stauffer that "the epithet reflects an oral tradition within the Bach family".
The opening Kyrie, however, is in B minor, with the Christe Eleison in D major, and the second Kyrie in F-sharp minor; as Butt points out, these tonalities outline a B minor chord. The piece is orchestrated for two flutes , two oboes d'amore doubling on oboes , two bassoons , one natural horn in D , three natural trumpets in D , timpani , violins I and II, violas and basso continuo cellos, basses, bassoons, organ and harpsichord.
A third oboe is required for the Sanctus. Bach conducted the Sanctus, in its first version, at the Christmas service in Leipzig, and re-used it in Christmas services in the mids. Arnold Schering in asserted that it was performed in Leipzig on April 26, , when Augustus III of Poland visited the town, but modern scholars reject his argument for several reasons:.
Scholars differ, however, on whether the Missa was performed in July in Dresden. Christoph Wolff argues that on July 26, at the Sophienkirche in Dresden, where Wilhelm Friedemann Bach had been organist since June, it "was definitely performed He would again perform a 2-hour Organ recital on 1 December at the Frauenkirche Dresden to inaugurate the new Gottfried Silbermann organ. Scholars agree that no other public performances took place in Bach's lifetime, although Butt raises the possibility that there may have been a private performance or read-through of the Symbolum Nicenum late in Bach's life.
The first public performance of the Symbolum Nicenum section under the title "Credo or Nicene Creed" took place 36 years after Bach's death, in Spring of , led by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach at a benefit concert for the Medical Institute for the Poor in Hamburg. As recounted by George Stauffer,  the next documented performance not public in the nineteenth century was when Carl Friedrich Zelter —a key figure in the 19th-century Bach revival—led the Berlin Singakademie in read-throughs of the "Great Mass" in , covering the Kyrie; in he led read-throughs of the entire work.
The first public performance in the century—of just the Credo section—took place in Frankfurt in March, , with over performers and many instrumental additions. In the same year in Berlin, Gaspare Spontini led the Credo section, adding 15 new choral parts and numerous instruments. A number of performances of sections of the Mass took place in the following decades in Europe, but the first attested public performance of the Mass in its entirety took place in in Leipzig, with Karl Riedel and the Riedel-Verein.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem performed the American premiere of the complete Mass on March 27, , in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania , though there is evidence that parts of the Mass had been performed in the United States as early as From early in the century, authors such as Albert Schweitzer , Arnold Schering, and Frederick Smend called for smaller performance forces, and experiments with relatively smaller groups began in the late s.
The first complete recording of the work was made in , with a large choir and the London Symphony Orchestra led by Albert Coates. Joshua Rifkin 's first recording using the one-voice-per-part vocal scoring he proposes was made in ,  and won a Gramophone Award. The Mass in B minor is widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of classical music. Alberto Basso summarizes the work as follows:.
The Mass in B minor is the consecration of a whole life: started in for "diplomatic" reasons, it was finished in the very last years of Bach's life, when he had already gone blind. This monumental work is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution the Cantor of Leipzig made to music. But it is also the most astounding spiritual encounter between the worlds of Catholic glorification and the Lutheran cult of the cross. Scholars have suggested that the Mass in B minor belongs in the same category as The Art of Fugue , as a summation of Bach's deep lifelong involvement with musical tradition—in this case, with choral settings and theology.
Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the work as representing "a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish Bach's mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity.
Two autograph sources exist: the parts for the Kyrie and Gloria sections that Bach deposited in Dresden in , and the score of the complete work that Bach compiled in —50, which was inherited by C.
Bach the autograph has been published in facsimile from the source in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Bach, as was typical practice in the era, made additions to the autograph score for performance by adding a bar introduction, replacing the now-obsolete oboe d'amore with newer instruments clarinets, oboes, or violins and making other changes in instrumentation for his own aesthetic reasons.
For this and other reasons, the Mass in B minor poses a considerable challenge to prospective editors, and substantial variations can be noted in different editions, even critical urtext editions. The Bach Gesellschaft edition, edited by Julius Rietz, was published in based on several sources but without direct access to the autograph.
When access was later obtained, the textual problems were so evident that the society published a revised edition the next year. The edition was the standard for the next century, but was later recognized to be even less accurate than the version due to inadvertent incorporation of C. Bach's alterations in the autograph. Christoph Wolff's edition, published by C. Peters in ,  uses two copies of the —50 manuscript made before C.
Bach's adulterations to try to reconstruct Bach's original readings, and seeks to recover performance details by using all available sources, including cantata movements that Bach reworked in the B minor Mass. Bach emendations, but differs from Wolff in arguing that the —50 work is, to quote John Butt, "essentially a different entity from the Missa, and that a combination of the 'best' readings from both does not really correspond to Bach's final and virtually completed conception of the work";  Rifkin's version seeks to adhere to this final version.
Bach's handwriting from the additions made by C. Bach and others. Bach's revisions and uses the Dresden parts as the primary source for the Kyrie and Gloria. The work consists of 27 sections. Tempo and metrical information and parodied cantata sources come from Christoph Wolff's critical urtext edition, and from George Stauffer's Bach: The Mass in B Minor. Regarding sources, Stauffer, summarizing current research as of , states that "Specific models or fragments can be pinpointed for eleven of the work's twenty-seven movements" and that "two other movements [the "Domine Deus" and "Et resurrexit"] are most probably derived from specific, now lost sources.
Butt points out that "only with a musical aesthetic later than Bach's does the concept of parody adapting existing vocal music to a new text appear in an unfavourable light" while it was "almost unavoidable" in Bach's day. As of [update] , recordings are listed on bach-cantatas, beginning with the first recording by a symphony orchestra and choir to match, conducted by Albert Coates.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mass composed by J S Bach in Main article: Mass in B minor structure. Performed at Latin Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine. Run time is four minutes, 41 seconds. For selected recordings on period instruments and modern instruments, see Mass in B minor discography. Bach Digital. Leipzig: Bach Archive. Exploring Bach's B-minor Mass. Cambridge University Press.
STL Symphony. Archived from the original on Retrieved Bach's Major Vocal Works. Norton, , p. Bach , ed. Norton, , pp. Seine unterthanigste Devotion der Autor J. Retrieved 23 February Friedrich Smends Ausgabe der h-moll-Messe von J. Bach in German. Die Musikforschung. Neue Ausgabe C.
Mass in B minor structure
The composition was completed in , the year before the composer's death, and was to a large extent based on earlier work, such as a Sanctus Bach had composed in Sections that were specifically composed to complete the Mass in the late s include the "Et incarnatus est" part of the Credo. As usual for its time, the composition is formatted as a Neapolitan mass , consisting of a succession of choral movements with a broad orchestral accompaniment, and sections in which a more limited group of instrumentalists accompanies one or more vocal soloists. Among the more unusual characteristics of the composition is its scale: a total performance time of around two hours,  and a scoring consisting of two groups of SATB singers and an orchestra featuring an extended winds section, strings and continuo. Even more exceptional, for a Lutheran composer such as Bach, is that the composition is a Missa tota. The Mass was likely never performed in its entirety during Bach's lifetime.
BWV 232 — Agnus Dei
Mass in B minor