Artist of the Month - Dunedin Consort - Mass in B Minor

This month's featured artist is Dunedin Consort. Join us as we take a look back at Dunedin's previous Handel recording: Mass in B Minor (2010). With contributions from director John Butt and producer Philip Hobbs, these retrospectives will give you the story behind the recording and introduce you to some exceptional music.

Bach's Mass in B Minor is a combination of sizzling choruses and solo numbers covering the gamut of late-Baroque vocal expression rendering it one of the most joyous musical experiences in the western tradition. The Mass was, in the early 1980s, the key work that Joshua Rifkin used to demonstrate his revolutionary theory that the choruses in Bach's vocal works were generally performed with only the principal singer on each part.

Dunedin Consort

 'Editor's Choice'
Gramophone

*

'Best Recording 2010'
High Fidelity 

*

'There have been many recordings...but in my opinion the Dunedin is the first to come anywhere near challenging it.'
Early Music Review 

*

'The awe-inspiring intricacy of Bach's part-writing has been wonderfully magnified...'
Classic FM Magazine 

*

'No performance could better justify small-scale Bach than this convincing marriage of scholarship and inspiration.'
BBC Music Magazine 

  *

'This performance demands to be heard.'
Gramophone 



Facts about the recording: This was the premiere recording of Joshua Rifkin's 2006 edition of ‘J. S. Bach's Mass in B Minor'. Rifkin's 2006 edition is the first fully scholarly edition of the Mass as the composer left it. Rifkin removed any "improvements" that have crept in since Bach's death in 1750, revealing this historically informed, soloist-led performance. 

Behind the recording with producer Philip Hobbs: "I think this is the most successful version of this piece in terms of authenticity. John Butt was a driving force in ensuring the peice's accurancy but there is obviously an on-going debate as to what is original as this is dependent on the forces Bach had at his disposal."

Director John Butt's perspective: "I have been occupied with the Mass in B minor as both performer and scholar for many years - perhaps more so than for any other Bach work. As with all the Dunedin's recordings, I aim for a performance that presents the music as if for the first time. This is clearly a challenge for a work that has such an extensive performance and recording history. What I've tried to achieve is a sense of how the Mass can cohere in its broader spans, but also a feeling that there's something actually happening, in real time, at every moment." 

 

mass album cover5 stars BBC Music Magazine

5 stars Audiophile Audition

4.5 stars Classic FM Magazine

4.5 stars Klassik.com

4.5 stars ClassicsTodayFrance.com

4.5 stars ClassicsToday.com