Bach Mass in B Minor
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‘The greatest product of the human mind’ – Australian historian, Manning Clark shared his thoughts on Bach’s Mass in B Minor in a conversation with Douglas Lawrence. Composition of the Mass occupied Bach over many years and was not completed until 1749, one year before his death. In the Lutheran church, there was never any call for a completely sung mass, such as was customary in the Catholic church. For this reason, the B Minor was never performed in its entirety during Bach’s lifetime. It is possible that Bach intended it for the dedication of the new Hofkirche – now the Frauenkirche – in Dresden, which was scheduled for completion by 1748 but not finished until one year after his death (1751). In the event the inaugural mass chosen was by Johann Adolph Hasse. The Mass in B Minor seems to have resulted from Bach’s desire for a complete working out of various genres in the final years of his life. This also resulted in the Musical Offering, the Art of Fugue and the publication of a collection of keyboard music known as the Clavierübung. One of the special characteristics of this Mass is the use of a wide array of instruments including trumpet, horn, flute, oboe, bassoon and timpani. The ACC’s performance brings together an orchestra of specialist musicians playing period instruments.