Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232

Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232

Towards the end of his life Bach compiled the Mass in B Minor from the finest music in his back catalog. And, in fact, the greatness of the Mass lies not just in its diversity and brilliance, but also in Bach’s ability to shape a coherent sequence of movements from such varied sources. Jonathan Cohen matches this with an effortlessly coherent and purposeful performance, never pushing the pace too far or over-egging the moments of brassy celebration. With a medium-sized choir of 20, he cultivates long, legato phrasing and rich, warm sonorities, though never at the expense of clarity. Highlights include an upliftingly swift opening to the “Credo,” a tellingly restrained “Agnus Dei” from countertenor Tim Mead, and a magisterial summation of the whole in the slow-release, cumulative power of the final “Dona nobis pacem.”

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