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Something good came out of all this religious horsepucky. :)

The Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by Johann Sebastian Bach is a musical setting of the complete Ordinary of the Latin Mass. The work was one of Bach’s last compositions, not completed until 1749, the year before his death. Much of the Mass gave new form to vocal music that Bach had composed throughout his career, dating back (in the case of the “Crucifixus”) to 1714, but extensively revised. To complete the work, in the late 1740s Bach composed new sections of the Credo such as “Et incarnatus est”.

It was unusual for composers working in the Lutheran tradition to compose a Missa tota and Bach’s motivations remain a matter of scholarly debate. The Mass was never performed in its entirety during Bach’s lifetime; the first documented complete performance took place in 1859. Since the nineteenth century it has been widely hailed as one of the greatest compositions in musical history, and today it is frequently performed and recorded.[1][2][3][4] Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach archived this work as the Great Catholic Mass.

The Mass in B minor is widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of classical music. Alberto Basso summarizes the work as follows:

The Mass in B minor is the consecration of a whole life: started in 1733 for “diplomatic” reasons, it was finished in the very last years of Bach’s life, when he had already gone blind. This monumental work is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution the Cantor of Leipzig made to music. But it is also the most astounding spiritual encounter between the worlds of Catholic glorification and the Lutheran cult of the cross.[41]

Scholars have suggested that the Mass in B minor belongs in the same category as The Art of Fugue, as a summation of Bach’s deep lifelong involvement with musical tradition—in this case, with choral settings and theology. Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the work as representing “a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish … Bach’s mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity.”[42]

The Mass was described in the 19th century by the editor Hans Georg Nägeli as “The Announcement of the Greatest Musical Work of All Times and All People” (“Ankündigung des größten musikalischen Kunstwerkes aller Zeiten und Völker”).[43] Even though it had never been performed, its importance was appreciated by some of Bach’s greatest successors: by the beginning of the 19th century Forkel and Haydn possessed copies.[44]

Gotta respect the traditions.

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