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BACH 701

1: MASS No. 1 in F Major, BWV 233
Part 1: KYRIE - Chorus / GLORIA - Chorus
Bass Aria: Domine Deus
Soprano Aria: Qui tollis peccata mundi
Part 2: Alto Aria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus
CHORUS: Cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

2: MASS No. 2 in A Major, BWV 234
Part 1: KYRIE - Chorus / GLORIA - Chorus
Bass Aria: Domine Deus
Soprano Aria: Qui tollis peccata mundi
Part 2: Alto Aria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus
CHORUS: Cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Renate Krahmer, Soprano / Annelies Burmeister, Alto
Peter Schreier, Tenor / Theo Adam, Bass
DRESDNER KREUZCHOR / DRESDNER PHILHARMONIE
Conductor: Martin Flämig

CHORALE SETTINGS

3: In dulci jubilo, BWV 368
4: Three Chorales from the Magnificat BWV 243
   Vom Himmel hoch / Freut euch und jubiliert
   Gloria in excelsis Deo
5: Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht, BWV 345
6: Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder

Rostocker Motettenchor - Capella Fidicinia Orchestra, Leipzig
Conductor: Hartwig Eschenburg

Total time 72:44

BACH 702

1: MASS No. 3 in g minor, BWV 235
Part 1: KYRIE - Chorus / GLORIA - Chorus
Bass Aria: Gratias agimus tibi
Alto Aria: Domine Fili
Part 2: Tenor Aria: Qui tollis peccata mundi
CHORUS: Cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

2: MASS No. 4 in G Major, BWV 236
Part 1: KYRIE - Chorus / GLORIA - Chorus
Bass Aria: Gratias agimus tibi
Soprano/Alto Duet: Domine Deus
Part 2: Tenor Aria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus
CHORUS: Cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Renate Krahmer, Soprano / Annelies Burmeister, Alto
Peter Schreier, Tenor / Theo Adam, Bass
DRESDNER KREUZCHOR / DRESDNER PHILHARMONIE
Conductor: Martin Flämig

CHORALE SETTINGS

3: Eins ist not, ach Herr, BWV 304
4: Gib dich zufrieden, BWV 315
5: O Gott, du frommer Gott
6: Jesu, meines Herzens Freud', BWV 361
7: Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben, BWV 356
8: Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende, BWV 434

Rostocker Motettenchor - Capella Fidicinia Orchestra, Leipzig
Conductor: Hartwig Eschenburg

Total time 72:12

Bach wrote some 200 church cantatas which have come down to us; most of these were composed in Leipzig where Bach was required to produce one per week. Bach did in fact write a number of important cantatas himself from start to finish. But in many other cases he would write a grand opening chorus reflecting the gospel of the day, a key aria, and perhaps harmonize the final chorale. For the rest, many of the arias and recitatives would be done by his students under Bach's strict guidance. The result was that Bach was spared much of the routine work, and at the same time his students were given useful, practical exercises - which they would hear in performance.

Would it not be interesting if Bach himself could make a selection from his favorite movements and assemble them into one or several composite works? In fact he has done just that.

Count Anton von Sporck was a nobleman with estates in nearby Bohemia. A great music-lover and intellectual, the Count was a frequent visitor to Leipzig. Unfortunately his life in Bohemia was overshadowed by a strict religious censorship, which may explain why Bach presented (disguised?) his selected cantata movements in the form of Catholic Masses.
Read the full, dramatic story: Count von Sporck and Bach's Four Shorter Masses

For the Four Shorter Masses, or Missae Breves, Bach drew on some of the finest movements in his cantata writing. These are splendid and powerful works in their own right, though they are little-known and not much recorded.

The Chorale formed an integral part of the Lutheran Service, and Bach would often harmonize traditional chorales in different ways, as Buxtehude had done before him. We have used the few remaining minutes on both our discs to give you some of these very beautiful, very simple chorale melodies, including three Christmas Verses which formed a part of the first, 1723 version of the Magnificat, BWV 243.

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