Bach: Mass in B Minor

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 Track Listing

DISC ONE
1. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: I. Missa: Kyrie 19:54
2. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: I. Missa: Gloria 37:16
DISC TWO
1. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: II. Symbolum Nicenum 35:00
2. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: III. Sanctus 5:25
3. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: IV: Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem: Osanna in ex 3:14
4. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: IV: Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem: Benedictus 4:42
5. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: IV: Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem: Osanna in ex 3:10
6. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: IV: Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem: Agnus Dei 5:38
7. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: IV: Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem: Dona nobis p 3:40

Shaw returns to Atlanta and his wide-ranging survey of the sacred choral masterworks with a dynamic performance of Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor.

Although Shaw employs modern instruments in this recording, his use of a chamber choir is in keeping with historical performance practices. In most of the choral portions of this work, the vocal soloists are used as concertists, a small solo group in alternation with the full chorus (called ripienists). This practice was referred to by Bach himself as being desirable in performance of his sacred choral music.

The Mass was assembled in 1747-48, the last decade of Bach’s life. Although most of the Mass was adapted from other works that were composed over the previous quarter-century for various purposes, all of the portions were revised and reworked to make a consummate whole.

There has been some controversy surrounding the appropriateness of an integrated performance of this work. In addressing this question, Shaw has written, “Unity in a work of art probably never is a result of intention alone...As the text of the Mass provided a common source for its large episodes, so did Bach’s unwavering religious conviction and his staggering musical craftsmanship provide inevitable unity.”

Shaw’s interpretation of the mighty B minor Mass, with his masterful shaping of phrase, line and sound, shows the “Dean of the American choral conductors” at the peak of his musical powers.

 

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