In this book George B. Stauffer explores the music and complex history of Bach’s last and possibly greatest masterpiece. Stauffer examines the B-Minor Mass in greater detail than ever before, demonstrating for the first time Bach’s reliance on contemporary models from the Dresden Mass repertory and his brilliantly innovative methods of unifying his immense composition. Musicians, music scholars, students, and music lovers will find in this engagingly written book a wealth of information about Bach’s extraordinary choral work. Stauffer surveys the roots of the Mass Ordinary text and its treatment in settings known to Bach. He looks at the events that led to the writing of the B-Minor Mass and places the work within the context of the composer’s late style. In three deeply informed chapters, Stauffer considers the individual sections of the Mass—the Kyrie and Gloria, the Credo, and the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The book also traces the history of the work after Bach’s death, addresses specific issues of performance practice, and investigates the qualities that give the B-Minor Mass its universal appeal.
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