J.S. Bach's "Mass in B Minor," Performed by Joélle Harvey, Carolyn Sampson, Iestyn Davies, Ed Lyon, Matthew Rose, Choir of the English Concert, and The English Concert, Directed by Harry Bicket
"Bach’s last major work, never performed in his lifetime, was a full setting of the Latin Mass, the Missa tota," reminds Killing the Buddha's Kaya Oakes, even though "Lutherans had thrown out the Latin Mass; only Catholics practiced the long, elaborate ceremony" — Searching for Bach. An excerpt:
- Bach was mostly blind by the time he composed the B Minor Mass. One report says his death just a few years later was brought on by the “unhappy consequences” of an “unfortunate eye operation,” but contemporary scholars mostly believe he had a stroke. His much younger wife Anna Magdalena, who had copied down many of his compositions and had sung professionally throughout their marriage, was left destitute with two of her daughters and a stepdaughter when Bach’s sons quarreled over the estate. She was buried in a pauper’s grave, and the graveyard was destroyed during World War II. Jesu Juva.
I’ve listened to a lot of rock music, a lot of hip hop, country and folk and jazz, a lot of blues and roots and music from around the world. And as a person whose mind loves research and learning, I’ve read up on the lives of musicians and composers, read shelves of books and piles of scholarly and popular articles, and no story has ever made me sadder than the story of Bach and his dead children and destitute, gifted widow. Bach is a father figure to any classical musician, but he’s also a father figure to music itself; without him, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do on instruments.