Tag Archives: Philippe Herreweghe

[39] Johann Sebastian Bach – Mass in B Minor

3 Jan

It hardly seems fair that the same mind that composed the huge Brandenburg Concertos, the tiny and complex solo violin pieces and the technical exploration of the Well Tempered Clavier should also be able to add the subtle shading of this vocal ensemble piece.

It is, in a word, beautiful.

Mass in B Minor

Mass in B Minor



For the most part this doesn’t sound like what I think of as “church music” which is probably a positive since my rare experiences in church have always tended towards the mournful dirge.

Usually I am eager to know the meaning behind the lyrics I listen to in a foreign language, but here I am certain that I am happier not knowing.  The music is eloquent enough without bringing religion into it . . .

The small choir of the Chorus and Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale keeps everything under control – no overreaching bombast or attempts to batter the senses.  Each performer knows their part in the whole and does exactly what is required, no more.

It is at times Operatic, and at moments the sound would not be out of place in a modern musical or move score – a testament to the reach and influence of Bach’s sound here?

Having discovered four magnificent pieces, and being unexpectedly willing and able to recommend them all, I am left wondering – what other Bach works might have been included in the 1,000, either instead of or as well as these.  What other joys am I missing?

I expect I’ll look for more Bach someday, but after 4 weeks of almost nothing but Bach (enjoyable and enlightening as it has undoubtedly been) I think I’ll take a break first.

80s Punk sounds like an excellent next step!

Owned before blogging? No. (2 of 39. 5%)
Heard before blogging? No. (4 of 39. 10%)
Recommend? Yes. (33 of 39. 85%)

Next Week: Bad Brains – I Against I


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