Friday, March 19, 2010

JS Bach's 325th Birthday on Sunday, 21 March 2010

This Sunday, 21 March 2010 marks the 325th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach, who, in my opinion, is the greatest composer of all time. We will be celebrating this anniversary on Classical Sunrise on Sunday from 6 to 9 am with an all-Bach program.

Starting at 6 am (EDT), I will be playing the great Mass in B minor, which was completed in his last years, around 1748-1749. His plans regarding the mass started much earlier with the layout of the Kyrie-Gloria Mass of 1733, when he thought of composing a complete setting of the mass.

Many parts of the Mass in B minor are drawn from earlier works, including the Sanctus, which was orginally written for Christmas 1724; the Osanna, which was derived from a secular cantata movement from 1732; and the Agnus Dei, derived from a cantata movement from 1725. The B minor mass represents the pinnacle and summation of Bach's vocal works.

Among other works of Bach that we will hear on Sunday, I will also play the Cantata BWV 69, Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Praise the Lord, O my Soul), written for the election of a new Town Council in Leipzig. This work also borrowed in part from another cantata.

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