by Neil McCalmont
On Friday, July 1 at 8 pm in Warner Concert Hall, the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute will close its faculty concerts with a masterwork by a titan of Western culture: J.S. Bach’s Mass in b minor, BWV 232. The institute traditionally selects one magnum opus per season, but this summer has chosen two: Handel’s Concerti Grossi, Op. 3 (the concert was on June 24), and the Bach mass. For an added twist, the mass will be performed with one singer, one instrumentalist per part, a decision that has sparked fistfights in the past.
The work’s history is complicated, as Bach originally wrote the “Kyrie and Gloria,” “Sanctus,” and “Crucifixus” earlier in his career for different purposes. Though the composer was nearly blind in his last years, he revised these movements accordingly and completed the work in 1749, only a year before his death. [Read more…]