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Thread: Underrated gem I: Bach's Gloria from his Mass in F Major, BWV 233.

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    Default Underrated gem I: Bach's Gloria from his Mass in F Major, BWV 233.


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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Great choice! The Mass in B minor tends to drown out his other masses; they deserve better.

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    What a "Glorious" piece! Thanks for sharing it.

    And welcome to the forum!

    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    Great choice! The Mass in B minor tends to drown out his other masses; they deserve better.
    I'm someone who never looked beyond the famous scared choral works so this piece is new to me. And that cathedral in the video is magnificent!
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    A truly underrated gem among Bach works and among choral works in general. A half-hour of sheer Bachian genius and ecstasy, the perfect starting point for anyone who wishes to explore his vocal music.

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    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I'm someone who never looked beyond the famous scared choral works so this piece is new to me. And that cathedral in the video is magnificent!
    Yeah, those famous scared works, eh?
    Seriously though: the 4 Lutheran masses (BWV 233-236) are most def worthwhile. As the 'Big' One BWV 232, they consist (mostly) of so-called parodies from other vocal works (cantatas). In fact, BWV 232 'started' as a Lutheran Kyrie-Gloria mass at first, too. It was expanded later on.
    Last edited by Marc; Mar-26-2020 at 22:54.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I'm someone who never looked beyond the famous scared choral works so this piece is new to me.
    I also like the opening chorus of St. John's Passion, I don't know if you would count that as a famous work of Bach.

    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    And that cathedral in the video is magnificent!
    No, it's ugly. It reminds me of

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    Gaudi's Sagrada Familia isn't to everyone's taste, admittedly, but it's a bit much comparing it to NK brutalism. Personally, I love it. Still wip, of course, but the Spaniards hope to get the thing finally finished sometime this decade.

    As for the Gloria, just wonderful. And yes, a great shame the B minor has somewhat eclipsed JSB's other efforts in this field. Thanks for unearthing it - it's an age since I last listened to this.

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    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    I also like the opening chorus of St. John's Passion, I don't know if you would count that as a famous work of Bach. […]
    Yes. I do.
    Of course, this is very personal, but to me both passions always belonged to Bach's 'most famous works'. The Matthäus-Passions belongs to the 'even more most famous works'.


    This was not the average opinion around 50 years ago I guess, but the SJP has gained more and more attention during the last decades. With many recordings to add. In my teenage years (first half of the 1980s) this work was broadcasted during Lent on a yearly basis in both Germany and the Netherlands. The opening choir of the SJP was in fact the first work that I heard which left me completely speechless. It was in 1980, when I listened to a live performance by Harnoncourt (Palm Sunday, Concertgebouw Amsterdam), which was broadcasted by the Dutch radio. The rest of the family was attending a Palm Sunday event and I was alone at home, because I desperately wanted to listen to it, after getting to know the SMP in the years before. I dearly loved the opening choir of the Matthäus, but this SJP beginning was truly a 'slap in da face'.

    Back then, my father had a small booklet with the lyrics, including a short introduction. The booklet was probably from the 1960s or early 1970s. In the introduction it was said that the SMP was much more famous and well-known, but that the 'Johannes' had been gaining ground during the last years. And that the opening chorus was indeed very impressive.

    Mind you, already Schumann rated the SJP higher than the SMP. Because of that, he even thought that the SJP was the work of the older, more 'mature' Bach.
    But that's the 'problem' with this composer. His Passacaglia & Fugue in C minor BWV 582, which is considered to be one of his most impressive and 'mature' works, was probably composed between 1706 and 1713. Many scholars think it's from Bach's period in Arnstadt, after he had visited Buxtehude (1705/1706) and got inspired by his ostinato works.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I wouldn't quite say the SJP is underrated, but it's definitely less talked-about under the shadow of its huge younger brother. St. Matt is the more ambitious, more contemplative work; designed to get you thinking about the implications of the event. St. John is the more breathless, the Passion as pure drama. It really does contain some of Bach's most inspired writing, and some of his most breathtakingly proto-romantic music - the opening chorus, that bass arioso and "Imagine" aria, "Es ist vollbracht," "Ruht wohl" and the final chorale - it's like a melodramatic opera in everything but name, and is dazzling in its spectrum of emotions portrayed. Of course I acknowledge SMP as a true magnum opus (even I think the B Minor Mass represents his greatest as a composer), but that shouldn't come at the expense of the St. John.

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