Masaaki Suzuki / Bach Collegium Japan

Bach: Lutheran Masses, Vol. 1

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Fans of Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki's Bach cantata recordings on BIS with his Bach Collegium Japan will be pleased to see that his engagement with Bach is continuing with other works. He makes a good choice to begin this new phase with the so-called Lutheran masses, which are comparatively neglected works. The term might sound like an oxymoron, but in fact in Bach's time German and Latin liturgies were both used, with the choice depending on the place (Leipzig favored Latin music) as well as on the level of pomp desired. These pieces are sometimes given the title Missa Brevis, which in the Baroque era meant a mass comprising a Kyrie and Gloria only. They are thus about the length of a cantata, with mixed choruses and solos. Bach did indeed recycle cantata music for these pieces, but that is nothing against them: the same is true for some more famous Bach choral pieces, and he did more rewriting and adaptation for these than in other similar situations. Sample the Gloria for the Mass in G major, BWV 236, which in Suzuki's creamy rendering can stand with any other big Bach polyphonic chorus. The BCJ's choir of 23 is ideally sized, and you get continuing contributions from several members of Suzuki's established stable of international soloists. Another attraction is the group of attractive Sanctus settings, even less familiar than the Lutheran masses and apparently written by Bach, complete with trumpets and drums, for festive occasions in the 1720s. A fine Bach release.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Lutheran Mass in G minor, BWV 235
1 06:09
2 02:58
3 02:44
4 04:47
5 03:43
6 04:57
Lutheran Mass in G major, BWV 236
7 03:22
8 04:56
9 04:42
10 03:46
11 04:40
12 04:05
13 02:22
14 02:06
Kyrie in C minor (from Missa, BWV Anh. 26)
15 02:44
16 01:11
Kyrie in C minor (from Missa, BWV Anh. 26)
17 01:36
18 02:35
19 01:56
blue highlight denotes track pick