Sunday, October 24 at 7:30 pm
Sunday October 31 at 4:00 pm
Sunset Center Theater

Orchestra and Chorale conducted by Paul Goodwin

J.S. Bach, Mass in B-Minor (Dresden Edition), BWV 232


J.S. Bach’s Mass in B-Minor is one of mankind’s most profound and astounding spiritual creations. The work is the apex of his lifetime of composition.

“This is Bach’s eternal Mass in B-Minor, this year presented with a small and delicate ensemble, just as Bach conceived it,” said Paul Goodwin.

Bach first presented the manuscript scores of the B-minor Mass to the Elector of Saxony in 1733. They have Dresden water marks and were probably composed to be performed by the Dresden Hofkapelle. The Elector was impressed and the music helped support a petition from Bach’s son, Freidemann, to obtain a position at court.

Bach sent the Kyrie and the Gloria, the first sections of the Mass, to the Elector. It is this version that will be performed, along with the closing Dona nobis pacem. Vocal solos and duets are performed by members of the Chorale.

The Kyrie and Gloria contain some of Bach’s most brilliant, dramatic and thrilling music, while the closing Dona nobis pacem (Grant us Thy peace) is the perfect catharsis for a turbulent year.

Conductor and Bach scholar John Elliot Gardiner shared his thoughts while performing the Mass in B-Minor:

“I’m just aware of how unbelievably perfect the music is, and how our job here, in this moment on earth, is to do justice in any way possible we can to Bach’s vision. I feel inspired by Bach, and if that means one has religious feelings as a result of the extraordinarily spirituality of his music, all well and good, but to me it’s not a means to an end, it’s an end in itself. The end is the ineffable beauty of this music.”

Dresden Edition


Chorus: Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)
Duet (soprano I, soprano II): Christe eleison (Christ have mercy)
Chorus: Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)


Chorus: Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory be to God on high)
Chorus: Et in terra pax (and on earth peace)
Aria (soprano II): Laudamus te (We praise Thee)
Chorus: Gratias agimus tibi (We give thanks to Thee)
Duet (soprano I, tenor): Domine Deus (O Lord God)
Chorus: Qui tollis peccata mundi (who takest away the sins of the world)
Aria (alto): Qui sedes ad dextram Patris (who sitteth at the right hand of God the Father)
Aria (bass): Quoniam tu solus sanctus (You alone are holy)
Chorus: Cum Sancto Spiritu (with the Holy Spirit)

Chorus: Dona nobis pacem (Grant us Thy peace)