Netherlands Bach Society, Jos Van Veldhoven – J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (2007) DSF DSD64 + Hi-Res FLAC

Netherlands Bach Society, Jos Van Veldhoven – J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (2007)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz  | Time – 01:45:45 minutes | 4,18 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:45:34 minutes | 3,2 GB
Genre: Classical | Source: ISO SACD / | © Channel Classics Records B.V. | Front Cover, Booklet

From the moment that a decision was made to record Bach’s Mass in b minor, it was clear tome that the scoring would have to be small-scale. After our successful and highly-praised recording of the St.John Passion in 2004-in which a small group of singcrs performed both the solo parts and the chorus parts there was really no way back. We had come to know a new kind of collaboration between instrumentalists and singers, which gave us an ideal foundation for the interpretation of Bach’s music and led to deeply expressive performances. Together, we discovered a new definition for the word ‘choir’. But at the same time, the Mass in b minor is a large-scale score: Bach, in his last completed work, demanded every possible performing force available to him. For example, in this unique and incomparable score, he used nearly every imaginable combination of voices and virtually the entire spectrum of instrumentation of his day. The enormous wealth of genres and structures is dazzling for the listener: timeless polyphony, fugues, canrus-firmus techniques, polychoral work, vocal and instrumental concern, concern for groups of instruments, concern grossi, osninani, solo arias and duets – in scorings from three to seven voices and in remarkably varied combinations-and choruses ranging from four to eight parts. It is certain that Bach never performed his masterpiece in complete form, and it remains unclear for what purpose or occasion he composed it. The beautiful autograph score remains a closed book in many respects: it contains hardly any tempo indications or dynamic signs. The movements are simply called Kyrie, Gloria, or Agnus Dci. All of the parts of the enormous score indicate one-on-a-part settings for instrumentalists or singers. Nowhere does Bach give suggestions for how to score the continuo. Is it written for soloists, or is Bach writing for a ‘real’ chorus? How large should the string groups be, and is variable scoring another option?

No matter how many recordings of Bach’s B minor Mass you’ve heard — and if you’re any kind of spiritual being, you’ve heard dozens — you should check out this recording with Jos van Veldhoven leading the collected vocal and instrumental forces of the Netherlands Bach Society. To some, of course, forces may be too strong a word. With five soloists and ten choristers, plus eight strings, seven winds, four brass, one timpanist, one organist, and one harpsichordist for a full compliment of only 38, including conductor, forces may seem too strong for those used to recordings with Otto Klemperer leading several hundred vocalists and instrumentalists. But, as those who know Leonhardt and Koopman’s recordings already know, size isn’t everything in the B minor Mass; musicality suffused with spirituality — or is it spirituality suffused with musicality? — is everything.
On those terms, this recording is a complete success. One could point to any number of musical felicities — the Christe eleison soprano duet featuring Dorothee Mields and Johannette Zomer, the Et in Spiritum Sanctum bass and bassoon aria featuring Peter Harvey and Benny Aghassi, the Agnus Dei alto aria featuring Matthew White — but the crucial element is the palpable sense of community that infuses this performance. Veldhoven is named as conductor but he seems less the leader of the congregation than the first among equals. The musicians of the Netherlands Bach Society really listen to each other, react to each other, and appreciate each other, and together they create a performance greater than the sum of its parts. When it comes to musicality suffused with spirituality or spirituality suffused with musicality, this recording is as good as the best. Channel Classics’ sound is deep, warm, and real. –AllMusic Review by James Leonard


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Mass in B minor, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, BWV 232 (BC E1)

Part 1, Missa
1 Kyrie. Kyrie eleison 10:42
2 Kyrie. Christe eleison 5:01
3 Kyrie. Kyrie elseison 3:43
4 Gloria. Gloria in excelsis 1:34
5 Gloria. Et in terra pax 4:24
6 Gloria. Laudamus te 3:58
7 Gloria. Gratias agimus tibi 2:41
8 Gloria. Domine Deus 5:25
9 Gloria. Qui tollis peccata mundi 3:07
10 Gloria. Qui sedes ad dexteram 4:18
11 Gloria. Quoniam tu solus Sanctus 4:35
12 Gloria. Cum Sancto Spiritu 3:35

Part 2, Symbolum Nicenum
13 Credo. Credo in unum Deum 1:55
14 Credo. Patrem omnipotentem 1:53
15 Credo. Et in unum Dominum 4:38
16 Credo. Et incarnatus est 3:03
17 Credo. Crucifixus 3:21
18 Credo. Et resurrexit 3:36
19 Credo. Et in Spiritum Sanctum 5:20
20 Credo. Confiteor 4:09
21 Credo. Et expecto resurrectionem 2:03

Part 3, Sanctus
22 Sanctus 4:49
Part 4, Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei et Dona Nobis Pacem
23 Osanna in excelsis 2:20
24 Benedictus, qui venit 4:29
25 Osanna in excelsis 2:25
26 Agnus Dei 5:11
27 Dona nobis pacem 3:12

Netherlands Bach Society
Jos van Veldhoven, conductor
Dorothee Mields, Johannette Zomer, soprano
Matthew White, alto
Charles Daniels, tenor
Peter Harvey, bass

Recorded: Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December 2006



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