Concerto Koln, Peter Dijkstra – J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor (Messe in h-Moll), BWV 232 (2017) [PrestoClassical FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Mass in B minor (Messe in h-Moll), BWV 232 – Concerto Koln, Peter Dijkstra (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 02:58:42 minutes | 1,74 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: | Booklet, Front Cover | © BR Klassik
Recorded: München, Herkulessaal der Residenz: 18.-22.04.2016 (live)

Nearly 70 years after the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, the Swiss publisher Hans Georg Nägeli undertook the daring task of preparing the manuscript score of the Mass in B minor for publication. In 1818, to mark the occasion, the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung described the Mass as “the Greatest Musical Work of All Times and All People.” This fulsome formulation was primarily a sales strategy: Nägeli was wooing subscribers for a composition that, until then, had been noticed only by a small number of cognoscenti. The announcement does sound rather pompous to our ears today, but the Swiss publisher’s judgement was a sound one. From the mid-19th century onwards, the Mass in B minor gradually became a fxed part of the repertoire for all major choirs, and is now an integral part of the worldwide concert business. However, unsolved questions incidental to this unusual work and its success story continue to preoccupy musicologists to this day: Why is an overall title page missing from the original manuscript, with its four individual folders? Were the four different sections, with their different orchestration, ever conceived as a single and cohesive mass? Was the work composed for any special occasion? And was a performance of the monumental mass even conceivable in around 1750? A look at the history of the music and its structure can bring us one step closer to possible answers.

In 1733, Johann Sebastian Bach presented the elector Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, who was also King of Poland at that time, with a Missa and, in the accompanying inscription on the wrapper, recommended himself for a title at the Dresden Court Orchestra. Although the gift to the elector was limited to Kyrie and Gloria, the cantor of St Thomas’s in Leipzig made use of an enclosure containing twelve individual movements to demonstrate his “Wißenschafft […] in Musique” in all its facets, with mighty choirs alongside delicate chamber music, complex fugues alongside lyrical arias, and expressive chromaticism alongside bubblingly skilful Baroque. The choice of keys further reinforced the contrasting effect. In the Kyrie, the key of B minor introduces a powerful inner tension and bitter grief at the sins of mankind, while the contrasting D major of Gloria in excelsis Deo, with its drums and trumpets, breaks out in radiant jubilation. Bach‘s originality where orchestration is concerned is especially evident in the duet and in the three arias of the Gloria, where not only all the soloists but also all the different families of instruments come to the fore: in Laudamus te the violin, in Domine Deus the flute, and in Qui sedes the oboe d‘amore. The combination of instruments in the Quoniam is very odd indeed: the vocal bass is accompanied by two bassoons, basso continuo and Corno da caccia – that is, three (!) further bass voices and a tenor voice.
In the fnal years of his life, Bach was intensely occupied with works of classical vocal polyphony. Under the influence of 16th-century church music he seems to have tackled a large-scale Symbolum Nicenum, or Nicene Creed. The introductory Credo is a fne example of the so-called stile antico. Since Bach makes the liturgical Credo intonation into the theme of the choral fugue, the movement’s character is determined by the linearity and rhythmic regularity of the ancient melody. Following the successive appearance of the five sections of the chorus, two violins join in, also “singing” the Gregorian chorale in a high register. For the eighth voice, however, Bach adds an underlying and entirely instrumental basso continuo, its brisk crotchets driving the music forward. The composer then presents this unconventional combination of historical models with his own personal style once again in the Confiteor (No. 20). In contrast to the quasi-objective, affect-free music for the abstract statements of faith in these numbers (“I believe in one God” / “I acknowledge one baptism”), the crucifxion scene (Crucifxus) is rich in expressive tonal symbolism. Suspenseful chromaticism, insistent repeated notes and sharp dissonances all convey the martyrdom of Christ. As the music for this section, Bach chose a piece from his youth: the opening chorus of the Cantata Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (“Weeping, Wailing, Fretting, Fearing”) BWV 12, written in 1714. He changed the text and the rhythmic structure of the instrumental parts, composing four additional bars at the end. The new ending directs the chorus down to the words et sepultus est (“and was buried”), effectively conveying the depth and silence of the tomb.
On a single sheet, after the score was already completed, Bach added the chorus’s Et incarnatus est and modifed the preceding duet to ft the two together harmoniously. With this restructuring he placed the Crucifxus at the precise centre of the Symbolum Nicenum. The key tenets of the Christian faith – the declaration of belief in Incarnation, Crucifxion and Resurrection – are framed perfectly by the symmetrical arrangement of four choir and two solo movements. Studies of the paper used and of the writing suggest that the Creed was written in 1748/49. During this same period, the folder with the Missa written in 1733 was placed together with the Creed and two further folders.
A Sanctus, composed for Christmas 1724 and performed repeatedly thereafter, forms the third section of the manuscript, and the fourth and fnal fascicle is entitled Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei et Dona nobis pacem. The latter titles derive without exception from the “parody method”, i.e. the reuse of existing compositions in a new context. As in the case of the Crucifxus, this is not just simple recycling – here, too, the parodies are accompanied by renewed creative power, outperforming their originals. In the penultimate number, the Agnus Dei, Bach makes a surprising alteration to the conclusion. In the new version, both voices lead into a single low note, forming a perfect transition to the subsequent Dona nobis pacem (“Grant us peace”) as it unfolds in unison from the depths. The Dona itself is a second-degree parody: The frst version, from the cantata Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir (BWV 29) written in 1731 for the inauguration of the Leipzig Town Council, was used again two years later for the Gratias agimus (“We give you thanks”) of the Missa. By returning to this movement, Bach combines the prayer for peace with the aspect of thanksgiving represented in the music of the cantata and the Missa. With great calm and concentration, the musical texture expands from its unisono opening into its magnifcent and grippingly powerful conclusion. Originating in the Agnus sphere of sacrifce and sin, the music culminates in the grandeur of a full-voiced D major movement, crowned by the use of trumpets. It is only at this point, with its subtle connection to the Agnus beforehand, that the composition arrives at its ultimate and logically correct conclusion. — Judith Kaufmann; Translation: David Ingram

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Messe in h-Moll / Mass in B minor
für Soli, Chor und Orchester, BWV 232
for solo voices, choir and orchestra, BWV 232
I. Missa
01 Kyrie eleison (Chor) 9:02
02 Christe eleison (Sopran I/II) 4:34
03 Kyrie eleison (Chor) 3:19
04 Gloria in excelsis Deo (Chor) 1:37
05 Et in terra pax (Chor) 4:15
06 Laudamus te (Sopran II) 3:55
07 Gratias agimus tibi (Chor) 2:31
08 Domine Deus (Sopran I, Tenor) 5:03
09 Qui tollis peccata mundi (Chor) 2:39
10 Qui sedes ad dextram Patris (Alt) 4:14
11 Quoniam tu solus Sanctus (Bass) 4:26
12 Cum Sancto Spiritu (Chor) 3:59
II. Symbolum Nicenum (Credo)
13 Credo in unum Deum (Chor) 2:02
14 Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem (Chor) 1:55
15 Et in unum Dominum (Sopran I, Alt) 4:13
16 Et incarnatus est (Chor) 2:55
17 Crucifxus (Chor) 2:43
18 Et resurrexit (Chor) 4:11
19 Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum (Bass) 4:54
20 Confiteor (Chor) 2:46
21 Et expecto (Chor) 1:40
22 Et expecto. Vivace e allegro (Chor) 2:10
III. Sanctus
23 Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (Chor) 2:50
24 Pleni sunt coeli (Chor) 2:07
IV. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei et Dona nobis pacem
25 Osanna in excelsis (Chor) 2:40
26 Benedictus (Tenor) 3:26
27 Osanna in excelsis (Chor) 2:41
28 Agnus Dei (Alt) 5:20
29 Dona nobis pacem (Chor) 3:04
Wege zur Musik
Johann Sebastian Bach: Messe in h-Moll
Ein Werk als Lebensbilanz
30 Et incarnatus 5:55
31 Das Vermächtniswerk 4:04
32 Aus alt mach neu 2:56
33 „Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen“ 5:03
34 „Geplärr und Geleyer“ 6:30
Karriereschub und Glaubensbekenntnis
35 Der erste Umschlag 4:12
36 „Compositeur bey der Königlichen HoffCapelle“ 5:02
37 Das „Neu’ Leipziger Gesangbuch“ 3:23
38 Glaubensbekenntnis und Klangreise 5:25
39 Stile und Affekte 3:41
40 Komponierte Theologie 5:40
Herrschaft und Verherrlichung
41 Göttliche Allmacht und weltliche Macht 5:18
42 Ratswahlkantate 5:25
43 Die „himmelaufjauchzende Tonart“ 6:15
44 Letzte Dinge 2:54
45 Das Erbstück 5:27

Christina Landshamer (Sopran / soprano)
Anke Vondung (Mezzosopran / mezzo soprano)
Kenneth Tarver (Tenor / tenor)
Andreas Wolf (Bassbariton / bass baritone)
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Concerto Köln
Peter Dijkstra (Leitung / Conductor)
Christian Baumann (Text)
Gert Heidenreich (Bibelzitate)
Hans Jürgen Stockerl (Zitate)



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