Bach - B Minor Mass

‘The greatest musical work of art of all times and nations’ wrote Hans Nägeli in 1818 of J.S. Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor.

The English Concert
Andrew Lucas conductor
St Albans Bach Choir
St Albans Cathedral Choirs

Elizabeth Cragg soprano
Rachel Nicholls soprano
William Towers countertenor
Peter Mitchell tenor
Thomas Flint bass-baritone

‘The greatest musical work of art of all times and nations’ wrote Hans Nägeli in 1818 of J S Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor. He had bought the manuscript from the estate of Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel, and planned to publish it for the first time in its complete form. At the time the Mass in B minor was virtually unknown and, given the iconic status it now enjoys, it is very surprising how little is known of its origins. Why would Bach, the most committed Lutheran, assemble a Catholic mass in the last years of his life? Was it a test piece or an attempt to secure a position at the Elector’s Court in Dresden, or even a personal spiritual journey? Bach did not even give this great masterpiece a name, nor was it given a complete performance until over 100 years after his death. But few would now argue with Nägeli’s vision for the Mass in B Minor as one of the great works of musical history.

BBC Proms 2012