Mar 12, 2022 • 14M

Bach's B Minor Mass - the greatest musical work you never heard

Episode 3 ofThe Nightmare of Reason Podcast with Roger Rudenstein

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Roger Rudenstein
Original observations on the cultural scene by a skeptical classical music composer and activist
Episode details

This podcast concerns arguably the greatest musical work ever created: The Mass in B-minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Surprisingly many classical aficionados have not listened to it.

The work could also be called “Bach’s Greatest Hits” as many of the sections had already been composed and some played prior to being assembled in the “Mass”. It is not a traditional mass as many sections such as the Kyrie are repeated with different music. It is thought to have been an attempt by Bach, a Protestant, to curry favor with the newly appointed Catholic officials in his part of Germany.

I also talk about Bach’s place in the musical firmament of his time (not big) and of his eclipse following his death not to be revived until late in the 19th Century by Felix Mendelssohn.

You can hear perhaps the best recording of this work free on YouTube by the Netherlands Bach Society utilizing period instruments in almost the right proportion (I talk about what the original instrumentation was in the podcast).

Here it is:

Coming up next on this podcast: The CIA’s Role in Classical Music.