Michael Schönheit / Collegium Vocale Leipzig / Merseburger Hofmusik

Johann Sebastian Bach: Hohe Messe in H-moll BWV 232

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While some parts of Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor date back to 1724 and 1733, most of this monumental work was composed in the late 1740s and completed in 1749, the year before the composer died. As a Lutheran, Bach never stated his purpose in writing such an ambitious and comprehensive Missa tota, though it seems likely that he intended it to curry favor with Catholic rulers in Dresden or Vienna, and not solely as one of his encyclopedic summations of his life's work. Since its first complete performance in 1833, the Mass in B Minor has been acclaimed as one of the greatest achievements in Western music, and performances have ranged from traditional renderings for massive ensembles to leaner period style readings for smaller forces. While this recording by director Michael Schönheit and Collegium Vocale Leipzig with Merseburger Hofmusik avoids either extreme, the chamber choir has the flexibility of line and clear enunciation that make the music and text intelligible, while the orchestra is crisp and detailed in the church setting. Of special interest are the supple voices of the quintet of soloists, comprised of sopranos Gerlinde Sämann and Britta Schwarz, alto Henriette Gödde, tenor Falk Hoffmann, and bass Andreas Scheibner, whose parts are well-balanced and cleanly executed. Querstand's sound is clear and bright, so there isn't a trace of murkiness in the recording, despite the echoic acoustics.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Hohe Messe in H-moll BWV 232
1 08:24 Amazon
2 04:47 Amazon
3 03:23 Amazon
4 01:41 Amazon
5 03:59 Amazon
6 04:05 Amazon
7 02:34 Amazon
8 05:22 Amazon
9 02:29 Amazon
10 04:14 Amazon
11 04:41 Amazon
12 03:52 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Hohe Messe in H-moll BWV 232
1 02:01 Amazon
2 01:51 Amazon
3 04:30 Amazon
4 02:30 Amazon
5 02:26 Amazon
6 04:00 Amazon
7 05:10 Amazon
8 03:50 Amazon
9 02:16 Amazon
10 02:38 Amazon
11 02:11 Amazon
12 02:35 Amazon
13 04:25 Amazon
14 02:38 Amazon
15 04:53 Amazon
16 02:49 Amazon
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