Bach's church music in Latin
Church music in Latin by Johann Sebastian Bach comprises about ten compositions, all composed during his Leipzig period. As a Lutheran church musician, Bach was more devoted to the composition of sacred music in German, writing hundreds of liturgical compositions in that language, and for instance also producing a German version of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Compared to Lutheran practice elsewhere, an uncharacteristic amount of Latin was however used in church services in Leipzig: it included music on Latin texts being performed on ordinary Sundays, on high holidays (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost), and the Magnificat also on Marian feasts (Annunciation, Visitation, Purification).
In Lutheran service, a Missa was a setting of only Kyrie and Gloria. Such a mass consisting of only Kyrie and Gloria is for that time period sometimes indicated as Missa brevis (literally: "short mass"). In 1733 Bach composed such a Missa brevis for the Catholic court in Dresden, however in an extended setting. In the late 1730s he again composed four Missae breves, mostly parodies of earlier cantata movements. At the end of his life he expanded the Missa for Dresden to his only setting of the complete Mass ordinary, the Mass in B minor.
- 1 Magnificat
- 2 Settings of (parts of) the Latin mass liturgy
- 2.1 Separate Sanctus settings, BWV 237–240
- 2.2 Mass in B minor, BWV 232, and related earlier compositions
- 2.3 Bach's short masses BWV 233–236 (1738–39?)
- 2.4 Christe eleison in G minor, BWV 242
- 2.5 Credo intonation in F major, BWV 1081
- 3 Bach copying and arranging Latin compositions by others
- 4 Discography
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Magnificat in E-flat major, BWV 243a (1723)
Later that year, for Christmas, he presented this Magnificat again, with additionally four inserted hymns related to the celebration of that feast.
Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 (1733)
In 1733 Bach again presented this Magnificat, but transposed to the key of D major and in a somewhat more elaborated orchestration, for the feast of Visitation. It is this version of his Magnificat that would become the most frequently performed version.
Settings of (parts of) the Latin mass liturgy
A mass or missa of Johann Sebastian Bach is in general a composition of the Latin Mass by the German Baroque composer. More specifically, Missa (sometimes Missa brevis or Lutheran Mass) refers to one of his four short masses in F major, A major, G minor and G major, BWV 233 to 236. These masses consist of a Kyrie and a Gloria. Bach composed an especially extensive setting, the Mass for the Dresden court (Kyrie and Gloria in B minor) in 1733 for presentation to the royal court in Dresden. It became, in the last years of his life and in revised form, the first two sections of his only setting of the complete ordinary of the Mass, known today as the Mass in B minor, BWV 232.
Separate Sanctus settings, BWV 237–240
BWV 237 to 241 are separate settings of the Sanctus. The first two of these (C major, BWV 237 and D major, BWV 238) were composed in 1723, his first year in Leipzig. The Sanctus in D minor BWV 239 is considered spurious, a work by an unknown composer copied by Bach. The Sanctus in G major BWV 240 is considered doubtful, and the Sanctus BWV 241 is Bach's arrangement of a composition by Johann Caspar Kerll.
Sanctus for six vocal parts (1724)
In 1724 Bach composed a Sanctus for six vocal parts (SSSATB) and elaborate orchestral score for the Christmas service. Bach revised it when he reused it in the Mass in B minor, changing its initial vocal scoring to SSAATB, and its meter from ₵ to C.
Mass for the court at Dresden (1733)
In 1733, Bach composed an extended Missa for the court in Dresden, a setting of two parts of the Latin mass, the Kyrie and Gloria, scored for five vocal parts and orchestra. Later he derived the cantata Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191 from this Missa in B minor, and included the Missa to his Mass in B minor, BWV 232.
Cantata Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191 (around 1745)
Bach used three movements of the Gloria of the Mass for the Dresden court to compose his cantata Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191, possibly for a performance in 1745. The cantata was composed for a Christmas service sometime in the mid-1740s (between 1743 and 1746).
Mass in B minor, BWV 232 (around 1748–49)
In the last years of his life, Bach integrated the complete Mass for the Dresden court (Bach) as Kyrie and Gloria in his Mass in B minor, his only complete mass (or missa tota). Scoring and structure are identical with the later work. Another part of this Mass was derived from the 1724 Sanctus for six vocal parts. Also the music of several movements of his earlier German cantatas was integrated in this mass.
Bach's short masses BWV 233–236 (1738–39?)
Bach wrote four other settings of Kyrie and Gloria, sometimes called Missa brevis. The attribute brevis in this case means short in words, unlike the Missa brevis of the classical period which is short in duration. Sometimes the works are termed Lutheran mass, because the combination of only Kyrie and Gloria was used more frequently in the Lutheran liturgy.
They seem to have been intended for liturgical use, considering a performance time of about 20 minutes each, the average duration of a Bach cantata. They may have been composed around 1738/39. Possibly they were written for Count Franz Anton von Sporck or performed by him in Lysá.
Each Missa is in six movements, the Kyrie one choral movement in three sections, the Gloria in five movements. The first and last movement of the Gloria are also choral, framing three arias for different voice types. The music consists mostly of parodies of cantata movements. He changed the music slightly to adjust to the Latin words, but kept the original instrumentation. The opening chorus of Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187, became the final movement of the Missa in G minor, Cum sancto spiritu. Occasionally he switched a voice part, for example he asked for a tenor in the Quoniam of that Missa, a parody of the soprano aria Halt ich nur fest an ihm of that cantata.
Missa in F major, BWV 233
|1||Kyrie eleison – Christe eleison – Kyrie eleison||Chorus||earlier version: BWV 233a|
|2||Gloria in excelsis||Chorus|
|3||Domine Deus||Bass||perhaps BWV Anh18|
|4||Qui tollis||Soprano||BWV 102|
|6||Cum sancto Spiritu||Chorus||BWV 40|
Missa in A major, BWV 234
For the Missa in A major, BWV 234, scored for flute, strings, SATB, and basso continuo, Bach parodied music from at least four earlier cantatas. In 1818 this was one of a very few of Bach's compositions for voices and orchestra to appear in print prior the Bach Gesellschaft complete edition in the second half of the 19th century.
|1||Kyrie eleison – Christe eleison – Kyrie eleison||Chorus|
|2||Gloria in excelsis||Chorus||BWV 67/6|
|4||Qui tollis||Soprano||BWV 179/5|
|6||Cum sancto Spiritu||Chorus||Vivace part: BWV 136 (Opening chorus)|
Missa in G minor, BWV 235
For the Missa in G minor, BWV 235, scored for oboes, strings, SATB, basso continuo, Bach derived all six movements from cantatas as parodies.
|1||Kyrie eleison – Christe eleison – Kyrie eleison||Chorus||BWV 102|
|2||Gloria in excelsis||Chorus||BWV 72|
|4||Domine Fili||Alto||BWV 187/3|
|5||Qui tollis – Quoniam||Tenor||BWV 187/5|
|6||Cum sancto Spiritu||Chorus||BWV 187|
Missa in G major, BWV 236
For the Missa in G major, BWV 236, scored for oboes, strings, SATB, basso continuo, Bach derived all six movements from cantatas as parodies.
|1||Kyrie eleison – Christe eleison – Kyrie eleison||Chorus||BWV 179|
|2||Gloria in excelsis||Chorus||BWV 79|
|4||Domine Deus||Soprano, alto||BWV 79|
|6||Cum sancto Spiritu||Chorus||BWV 17|
Christe eleison in G minor, BWV 242
Credo intonation in F major, BWV 1081
BWV 1081, a recent addition to the BWV catalogue, is a Credo intonation in F major for SATB choir. This Credo in unum Deum, composed in 1747/48, was composed as an insertion in Giovanni Battista Bassani's Mass No. 5 "Acroama Missale", in F major, first printed in Augsburg in 1709.
Bach copying and arranging Latin compositions by others
The copies and arrangements Bach made of Masses and Mass movements by other composers were usually intended for performance in Leipzig.
BWV 1082 is Bach's copy of the Suscepit Israel of Antonio Caldara's Magnificat in C major. The Sanctus BWV 239 is likewise a composition (by an unknown composer), copied by Bach. Also the BWV Anh. lists Latin compositions (presumably) by others, copied and/or performed by Bach:
- BWV Anh. 24 – Kyrie and Gloria in A minor from "Missa Sancti Lamberti" by Johann Christoph Pez; The Kyrie was already copied in Weimar, with a line different from the continuo added by Bach. The Gloria was copied without modification in Leipzig.
- BWV Anh. 25 – Kyrie–Gloria Mass in C major (sometimes attributed to Johann Ludwig Bach, copied & performed by J. S. Bach c.1740-1742).
- BWV Anh. 26 – Mass in C minor: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (by Francesco Durante; see above Christe eleison in G minor, BWV 242)
- BWV Anh. 27 – Sanctus in F major by Johann Ludwig Krebs.
- BWV Anh. 28 – Sanctus in B major (composer unknown).
- BWV Anh. 29 – continuo part for a Mass in C minor
- BWV Anh. 30 – Magnificat in C major for SSAATTBB choir and orchestra by Pietro Torri, copied by Bach around 1742 (used to be attributed to Antonio Lotti)
- BWV Anh. 166 – Missa super cantilena "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr": Kyrie–Gloria Mass in E minor composed in 1716 by Johann Ludwig Bach, previously attributed to Johann Nicolaus Bach, with part scores written out by J. S. Bach and others for performance in 1729, and a small addition (5 bars) by J. S. Bach at the beginning of the Gloria. The text of the Gloria is partly in German: it intersperses the Latin text of the Gloria with, as cantus firmus, all four stanzas of "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr" (which is itself a paraphrase of the Gloria), a Lutheran hymn by Nicolaus Decius and Joachim Slüter.
- BWV Anh. 167 – Kyrie–Gloria Mass in G major for double SATB choir and orchestra, possibly by Johann Ludwig Bach or Antonio Lotti. One of its 18th century manuscript copies is partially in J. S. Bach's handwriting. Published and performed as J. S. Bach's in 1805.
Between 1736 and 1740 Bach had the six Masses from Giovanni Battista Bassani's Acroama missale copied, without the Benedictus and Agnus Dei, writing himself the Credo lyrics in the score. It was to the fifth of these masses that he added the Credo intonation BWV 1081 at a later date.
Bach also produced a few arrangements of such compositions by others:
- The Sanctus BWV 241 is an arrangement of the Sanctus from Johann Caspar Kerll's Missa superba.
- Bach provided a transposition from D minor to E minor and a colla parte orchestration for the first two movements of Palestrina's Missa Sine nomine a 6, to be performed in Leipzig in the early 1740s as a Kyrie–Gloria Mass for SSATTB choir, and an orchestra consisting of cornets, trombones and continuo (BWV Deest).
- BWV 191, Gloria in excelsis Deo
- See Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191#Selected recordings
- BWV 232(a), Missa/Mass in B minor
- See Mass in B minor discography
- BWV 233–236, Missa in F major, A major, G minor and G major
- J.S. Bach: Missae Breves, Hans Grischkat, Schwäbischer Singkreis Stuttgart, Ton-Studio Orchestra Stuttgart, Agnes Giebel, Lotte Wolf-Matthäus, Werner Hohmann, Franz Kelch, Renaissance / Baroque Music Club early 1950s?
- J.S. Bach: Masses, Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Elisabeth Speiser, Ingeborg Ruß, John van Kesteren, Gerhard Faulstich, Jakob Stämpfli, Intercord 1967
- J.S. Bach: Missae Breves, Kurt Redel, Helmut Winschermann, Agnes Giebel, Gisela Litz, Hermann Prey, Elly Ameling, Birgit Finnilä, Theo Altmeyer, William Reimer, Philips 1965, 1970
- Bach: Messen BWV 233-236, Martin Flämig, Dresdner Kreuzchor, Dresdner Philharmonie, Renate Krahmer, Annelies Burmeister, Peter Schreier, Theo Adam, Eterna 1972 — re-issued Brilliant Classics 99361/3 and 4
- The Great Choral Masterpieces, Peter Schreier, RIAS Kammerchor, Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Barbara Bonney, Birgit Remmert, Rainer Trost, Olaf Bär, Philips 1991
- J.S. Bach: Missae Breves BWV 233-236, Patrick Peire, Capella Brugensis, Collegium Instrumentale Brugense, Greta De Reyghere, Wilke te Brummelstroete, James Gilchrist, Jan van der Crabben, Eufoda 2000
- J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 22, Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Johannette Zomer, Bogna Bartosz, Jörg Dürmüller, Klaus Mertens, Antoine Marchand 2005
- Bach: Lutheran Masses, BWV 233-236, Thomas Folan, Publick Musick, Anne Harley, Andrea Folan, Miranda Loud, Pablo Bustos, Max van Egmond, Eufoda 2005
- BWV 237–242, separate Sanctus and Christe Eleison compositions
- Sanctus BWV 238: Brilliant Classics 99376/4
- BWV 243–243a, Magnificat
- See Discography of Bach's Magnificat, Magnificat (Bach)#Reception history and Magnificat in E-flat major, BWV 243a#Selected recordings
- Spitta, Philipp. "Book V: Leipzig, 1723-1734" in Johann Sebastian Bach: his work and influence on the music of Germany, 1685–1750, translated by Clara Bell and John Alexander Fuller-Maitland, In Three Volumes, Vol. II. London, Novello & Co, 1884. p. 264
- Spitta 1884, p. 266 ff.
- Sanctus in d minor BWV 239; BNB I/An/5 at www
- Kirsten Beißwenger (ed.) Werke zweifelhafter Echtheit, Bearbeitungen fremder Kompositionen (Volume 9 of Series II: Masses, Passions, Oratorios from the New Bach Edition). Bärenreiter, 2000.
- Christoph Wolff, Bach: The Learned Musician, W.W. Norton, 2000, p. 265, ISBN 0-393-04825-X
- Steinitz, Margaret. "Bach's Latin Church Music". London Bach Society. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- Peter Williams, J.S. Bach: A Life in Music, Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 259, ISBN 978-0-521-87074-0}
- Laurson, Jens F. (2009). "Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) / Missa (1733)". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Missa in B Minor ("Kyrie" and "Gloria" of the B Minor Mass)". World Digital Library. 1733. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, 2nd edition 2007. S. Fischer, Frankfurt, ISBN 978-3-596-16739-5
- "Count Frantisek Antonin von Sporck". baroquemusic.org. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Margaret Steinitz. "Bach's Latin Church Music". London Bach Society. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233–242 on bach-cantatas.com
- Schmieder, Wolfgang (1969). Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs. Wiesbaden.
- Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life, Art and Work. Translated from the German of Johann Nikolaus Forkel. With notes and appendices by Charles Sanford Terry, Litt.D. Cantab. Harcourt, Brace and Howe, New York, 1920: Introduction (Terry), p. xvii
- Boyd, Malcolm (1999). Oxford Composer Companions: J.S. Bach. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 299. ISBN 0-19-866208-4.
- Credo in unum Deum, F (intonation, inserted in Mass, F by G. B. Bassani) BWV 1081; BC E 9 at www
- Mass, a BWV Anh. 24 / Anh. III 167‑>; BNB I/P/6 at www
- Missa (Kyrie and Gloria), C BWV Anh. 25; BNB I/An/1 at www
- Mass, c BWV Anh. 29; BNB I/An/2 at www
- Magnificat in C BWV Anh. 30; BNB I/An/7 at www
- Magnificat in C major BWV Anh 30 at www
- Mass in E minor, BWV Anh 166 at www
- Geiringer, Karl and Irene. The Bach Family: Seven Generations of Creative Genius, footnote p. 117. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954.
- Missa (Kyrie and Gloria), e JLB 38; BWV Anh. 166; BNB I/B/18 at www
- Missa, G BWV Anh. 167; BNB I/An/3 at www
- D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 659 at www
- Alfred Dörffel. "Statistik der Concerte im Saale des Gewandhauses zu Leipzig" p. 3, in Geschichte der Gewandhausconcerte zu Leipzig vom 25. November 1781 bis 25. November 1881: Im Auftrage der Concert-Direction verfasst. Leipzig, 1884.
- D-B Mus. ms. 1160 at www
- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Missa sine nomine a 6 at www
- Missa sine nomine (arr. of Kyrie and Gloria, copy of the following movements) at www
- "Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 Recordings - Part 1". bach-cantatas.com. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Masses and Magnificats by Johann_Sebastian Bach: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Missa BWV 232: history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
- Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 on bach-cantatas
- Missa in G minor, BWV 235: performance by the Netherlands Bach Society (video and background information)