Stephen Layton / Trinity College Choir, Cambridge

Bach: Mass in B minor

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

The Bach Mass in B minor, BWV 232, assembled from bits and pieces over some years, coheres in its final form in ways that perhaps only the composer understood. This recording by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Stephen Layton has been road-tested in performances around Britain for several years, but it hasn't lost the enthusiasm of its youthful singers. With a choir of 40+, it's not a recording for the historical-performance crowd, but it's musical, filled with clear, bright contrasts, and really quite grand. Layton takes a deliberate approach to the score, catching its long lines and letting the choir swell and surprise when they want to. The contrasts also involve the soloists, a varied bunch of well-known names that keep things exciting. The bloomy voice of soprano Katherine Watson might or might not be to your taste, but it plays well off the others. Sample the slow polyphony of the final Dona nobis pacem for a taste of the choir's Romantic approach, which one suspects wouldn't have sounded too unfamiliar to Mendelssohn. Whatever your own verdict, the support the singers get from Hyperion engineer David Hinitt and producer Adrian Peacock, working at the Trinity College Chapel, is superb: In a difficult situation, the various sound groups are kept clear, and there's not a trace of mush.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Mass in B Minor BWV232
1 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 09:56 Amazon
2 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:57 Amazon
3 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:24 Amazon
4 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 01:44 Amazon
5 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:26 Amazon
6 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:22 Amazon
7 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:14 Amazon
8 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:30 Amazon
9 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:04 Amazon
10 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:28 Amazon
11 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:28 Amazon
12 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:42 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Mass in B Minor BWV232
1 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 01:59 Amazon
2 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:04 Amazon
3 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:23 Amazon
4 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:23 Amazon
5 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:23 Amazon
6 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:04 Amazon
7 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:18 Amazon
8 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:55 Amazon
9 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:05 Amazon
10 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:12 Amazon
11 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:42 Amazon
12 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 04:16 Amazon
13 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 02:45 Amazon
14 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 05:16 Amazon
15 Trinity College Choir, Cambridge / Stephen Layton 03:30 Amazon
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