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Cat. No. CHAN 0653 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0653 - Bach: Lutheran Masses, Vol. 2
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Audio Sample

Available From: 17 February 2000
Nearly half a millennium ago mounting tension within the Western Church exploded in the crisis of the Reformation. Given the extreme rejection by some Reformed churches of Roman observances, English audiences might be surprised to find parts of the Latin Mass still included in the foremost composer of Luther’s Church. Luther’s quarrel was not so much with the liturgy – he had been an Augsutinian monk from the age of twenty-two - but rather with the corruption in the hierarchy of the church itself. In the two-hundred years separating Luther’s publication of the Formula Missae and Bach’s appointment as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, church music in Germany had attracted and exercised the talents of many fine composers and some considerable geniuses. By Bach’s time even Luther’s hymns had acquired a patina of age and Latin had all but disappeared except in some large churches. Bach’s ‘Lutheran’ Masses use almost no Lutheran raw material. Formally they could be classified as ‘Neapolitan’ masses, and they are only masses in a technical sense of Missa, not complete settings of the Ordinary. They are however deeply Lutheran and Bachian in spirit, music in which it is hard not to be moved by the sense of a big and complex resolution of dissonance. ‘I place music next to theology and give it highest praise,’ (Martin Luther)

The Singers balance beautifully… and oboes shadowed their parts and thicken the texture. Everyone bounced along in autonomous counterpoint.
Evening Standard on the concert of this recording


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