Bach's B minor Mass
Listening to Bach’s Mass in B minor, one could have the impression of a culmination of his life’s work – a choral equivalent of The Art of Fugue. Monumental in conception and thrilling in execution, this work was unsurpassed in grandeur and profundity in the mid 1700s, the soundscape combining huge complexity with incredible beauty, enchanting solo writing, glorious celebratory choruses and trumpet-festooned splendour.
Composed – or perhaps assembled – the year before his death, this is an enigmatic work which Bach himself may never have heard in a single sitting. The choruses and solo arias cover the full range of baroque vocal expression and make this one of the most joyful musical experiences in the repertoire.
We are joined by the outstanding choir Tenebrae in the beautiful surroundings of Oxford’s Victorian Town Hall for a performance, featuring soloists from Tenebrae, and directed by Nigel Short. From the mighty opening ‘Kyrie’ and brilliantly unfurling fugue through to the angelic ‘Sanctus’, this work of many contrasting moods and styles is the ultimate example of Bach’s unrivalled talent and ability to articulate his religious faith through music.