All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Mass in G minor

BWV 235 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Grote Kerk, Naarden

"Bach may have written technically difficult music but it can always be done."

Why did Bach reuse music from his earlier compositions for this Mass?

Best of Bach

In his ‘short’ Masses, Bach created a safe haven for his favourite cantata movements.

The four short Masses that Bach wrote in the 1730s are shrouded in mystery. These ‘Lutheran’ or ‘Short’ Masses are written in Latin, which is unusual for Bach, and they consist of only a Kyrie and a Gloria. What’s more, Bach compiled these Masses almost entirely of material from a small number of sacred cantatas. The Mass in G minor derives its opening from cantata 102, while the other two choruses and three arias are taken from cantatas 187 and 72. Although adjustments had to be made here and there – passages are cut out or added and the key or register is adapted – the chorus from cantata 102 has been transferred more or less intact. The three lines of text derived from Jeremiah fit amazingly well to the tripartite Kyrie-Christe-Kyrie invocation.

It does not seem too far-fetched to presume that Bach wrote these Masses to create a safe haven for some of his favourite pieces. The neutral character of a Latin Mass means it can be used on far more occasions than the one specific moment in the ecclesiastical year assigned to the cantatas written in German.

But why did Bach choose Latin for these Masses? Was he aiming to strengthen his ties with the Catholic king Augustus III in Dresden, who had just come to the throne? In any case, we know for certain that another Mass from this series, the Mass in B minor (which Bach later expanded) was dedicated to Augustus in 1733. With a little delay, Bach was indeed appointed Composer to the Dresden court in 1736. The position lent Bach a status that was to serve him well in his many conflicts with the church council in Leipzig. And with regard to creating a safe haven for his favourite pieces, Bach had also judged well. His Lutheran Masses have withstood the ravages of time, whereas much of his cantata work has been lost. 


BWV
235

title
Mass in G minor

epithet
‘Lutheran’ or ‘Short’ Mass

genre
Latin church music (mass)

year
1738/39?

city
Leipzig

Special notes/reuse
Compiled from music composed earlier for cantatas 102, 72 and 187.

Cast & Crew

release date 10 April 2015
recording date 11 October 2014
Location Grote Kerk, Naarden
Conductor Jos van Veldhoven
alto Alex Potter
tenor Thomas Hobbs
bass Peter Kooij
ripieno soprano Lauren Armishaw, Marjon Strijk (solo), Kristen Witmer
ripieno alto Marleene Goldstein, Barnabás Hegyi
ripieno tenor João Moreira, Kevin Skelton
ripieno bass Matthew Baker, Jelle Draijer
VIOLIN 1 Shunske Sato, Anneke van Haaften, Annelies van der Vegt
VIOLIN 2 Sayuri Yamagata, Pieter Affourtit, Paulien Kostense
VIOLA Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
DOUBLE BASS Robert Franenberg
traverso Marten Root
OBOE Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
BASSOON Benny Aghassi
trUmpet Robert Vanryne
HARPSICHORD Siebe Henstra
positive organ Leo van Doeselaar
concert Production Imke Deters, Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
ProducERS Zoë de Wilde, Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Lucas van Woerkum
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Sal Kroonenberg
CAMERA Sal Kroonenberg, Robert Berger, Ruben van den Broeke, Benjamin Sparschuh
FILM EDITORS Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCER Leo de Klerk
GAFFER Zen Bloot
BEST BOYS Roeland van Bemmel, Patrick Galvin
Score reader MaNOj Kamps
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel
CAMERA ASSISTaNTS Izak de Dreu, Zino Rosmolen
MUSIC EDIT AND MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC EDIT ASSISTANT Martijn Snoeren
interviews Onno van Ameijde
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Coro

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison.

2. Coro

Gloria in excelsis Deo,
et in terra pax hominibus
bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
adoramus te, glorificamus te.

3. Aria (basso)

Gratias agimus tibi 
propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.

4. Aria (alto)

Domine Fili unigenite,
Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
miserere nobis.

5. Aria (tenore)

Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
tu solus Dominus,
tu solus altissimus,
Jesu Christe.

6. Coro

Cum Sancto Spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.
Amen.


Translation

1. Chorus

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.

2. Chorus

Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to men
of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we worship you, we glorify you.

3. Aria

We give you thanks
for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly king,
God the Father almighty.

4. Aria

Lord, only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
who takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

5. Aria

Who takes away the sins of the world
receive our prayer,
who sits at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us
since you alone are holy,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are most high
Jesus Christ.

6. Chorus

With the Holy Spirit
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

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