(Eisenach, Germany 1685 - Leipzig 1750)

Missa en si m, BWV 232

Kyrie eleison Choir in 5 voices
Christe eleison Duet (soprano I and soprano II)
Kyrie eleison Choir in 4 voices

Gloria in excelsis Deo Choir in 5 voices
Et in terra pax Choir in 5 voices
Praise has Aria (soprano II and violin soloist)
Thanks agimus tibi Choir in 4 voices
Domine God Duet (soprano I, tenor and flutes)
Who tollis peccata mundi Choir in 4 voices
Who sedes ad dexteram Patris Aria (countertenor and oboe of love)
Quoniam tu solus sanctus Aria (bass, hunting horn and bassoons)
With the Holy Spirit Choir in 5 voices

Technical break - 5 ′

I think in unum Deum Quintet
(soprano I, soprano II, countertenor, tenor and bass)
Patrem omnipotent Choir in 4 voices
Et in unum Dominum Duet (soprano I and countertenor)
Et incarnatus est Quintet (soprano I, soprano II, countertenor, tenor and bass)
Crucifixus Choir in 4 voices
Et resurrected Choir in 5 voices
Et in Spiritum sanctum Aria (bass and oboe of love)
Confectioner Choir and quintet
(soprano I, soprano II, countertenor, tenor and bass)
Et expect Choir in 5 voices

Sanctus Choir in 6 voices
Hosanna in Excelsis Double choir in 8 voices
Benedictus Aria (tenor and flute)
Hosanna in exelsis Double choir in 8 voices

Agnus Gods Aria (countertenor)
Woman nobis pacem Choir in 4 voices


The approximate duration of the concert is 1 hour and 45 minutes


Hana Blažíková, soprano I
Sophie Harmsen, mezzo-soprano (soprano II)
Raffaele Pe, countertenor
Martin Platz, tenor
Thomas Stimmel, baritone-bass


Sopranos I: Rocío de Frutos, Jeanne Lefort, Elionor Martínez, Lise Viricel
Sopranos II: Èlia Casanova, Manon Chauvin, Carmit Natan, Anaïs Oliveras
Mezzosopranos - Contralts - Contratenors: Mercè Bruguera, Eulàlia Fantova, Beatriz Oleaga, David Sagastume
Tenors: David Hernández, Peter de Laurentiis, Ferran Mitjans, Martí Doñate
Baritones - Basses: Javier Jiménez-Cuevas, Francesc Ortega, Marco Scavazza, Pieter Stas

Lluís Vilamajó, preparation of the vocal ensemble

Michael Behringer, correpetidor


Manfredo Kraemer, concertino
Guy Ferber, René Maze, Jonathan Pia, baroque trumpets
Riccardo Balbinutti, timpani
Marc Hantaï, Yi-Fen Chen, flutes
Javier Bonet, hunting horn
Alessandro Pique, Emiliano Rodolfi, Miriam Jorde, obese and obese love
Josep Borràs, Joaquim Guerra, bassoons
David Plantier, violin II
Mauro Lopes, Guadalupe del Moral, Isabel Serrano, violins I
Alba Roca, Paula Waisman, Santi Aubert, violins II
David Glidden, Fumiko Morie, violas
Balázs Máté, Antoine Ladrette, cellos
Xavier Puertas, double bass
Michael Behringer, wooden organ

JORDI SAVALL, derection


With the support of the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona.
With the financial support of the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles Occitanie.
In collaboration with Catalunya Música and Catalunya Ràdio.

The spaces for the rehearsals have been provided by the Victòria del Àngels Municipal School of Music and the Sant Cugat del Vallès Conservatory and L'Auditori de Barcelona.


by Xavier Pastrana

In 1818, the publisher Hans Georg Nägeli promoted a subscription to publish "the greatest work of musical art of all time and all peoples." Despite the statement, Nägeli would never contemplate the complete edition of the Mass itself by Johann Sebastian Bach, but his son would do so in 1845, more than a century after the beginning of the genesis. of the “Great Catholic Mass,” as CPE Bach titled it. Superlatives are common and indisputable when one speaks of the Mass in itself by JS Bach, a music that shines like an absolute star in the midst of all the doubts, discussions and discernments that orbit its creation, premiere, function and value as a work. complete.

The beginning of the history of this Mass can be traced back to 1933, when Bach, tired of the precarious employment situation in Leipzig, looked for a way to improve it. To this end, he wrote a letter to Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, asking for his protection in the form of a court title, setting out the plight of Leipzig. This writing is accompanied by the score and instrumental parts of one missa brevis, formed by kírie and glory. Frederick Augustus II, being king of Poland, had to embrace Catholicism and adapt to all the rituals of the Catholic liturgy, which is why Bach writes a work appropriate to this tradition (without excluding its use in Lutheran churches). Although, in his letter to Dresden, Bach describes this music as "insignificant", the proportions of the instrumentation are majestic: 5-voice choir, string orchestra, trumpets, hunting horn, flutes, oboes, bassoons and basso continuo. It is also a work of long duration (few "glories" of the time reached the duration of Bach), and from the first bar you can see that it is a work that seeks to saturate itself with the enormous quality that he had the Saxon chapel (famous throughout Europe) and which allowed him to write virtuous passages totally impractical for the performers he had at Leipzig.

Here, the story of the Mass itself stops and we do not know very well when it will resume. The score of the symbolum nicenum (credo) it seems that it was born around the years 1747-1748, but it is possible that the intention to complete the ordinary of the mass began a few years before, when Bach reused the missa brevis of Dresden to make a Latin cantata (BWV191) which may have been performed together with a sanctus written in 1724 and which would also end up being part of the missa tota. What we know for sure is that in his last years of life, Bach wrote the parts that were missing to complete a Catholic Mass. We can deduce, then, that in this last stage the composer took the resolution to conclude a work that was to be a great compendium of his religious creation, as was the Das Wohltemperierte Klavier with respect to his keyboard music. This way of understanding the work could explain why possibly up to twenty of the twenty-seven numbers that make up the Mass come from music of their own written previously. The more than remarkable use of parody is similar to what we find in theChristmas Oratory o al Messiah of Händel, but it is by no means comparable. In the above cases (as in many other examples), the parody responds to a need for lack of available time and often the adaptation to the new text is unsuccessful. In the Mass itself m, however, parody becomes an art in itself. It should be noted that this work is one of the few (if not the only) that did not bring any financial gain to JS Bach and, as far as we know, was not written for any particular occasion or was intended to be performed by any formation specific. Therefore, it seems that the reason for completing the Mass had to be another, which could respond to many possible interpretations, and the reuse of earlier music seems to be an unforced choice. Perhaps the composer's intention was to bequeath to us a musical guide to his own work, a way of explaining Bach through Bach, a journey through music written during

Despite the list of verbs of dubious order that accompany the story of the Mass itself, the uncertainties diminish to the point of disappearing on hearing the first four bars of the kírie. Bach added them at the end of his life and they serve as a gateway to a kind of Bach Museum where we will contemplate, one after the other and, arranged in their well-known symmetrical structures, the best creations of the master of 'Eisenach. The first room, formed by the curia and the glory, with the Neapolitan aromas that Dresden liked so much, contrasted with theancient stilts looking at Palestrina. The second, the symbolum nicenum, which adds the use of Gregorian intonations, elevating them above impressive counterpoint tapestries. And a third room could include the majestic sanctus (the oldest music of the Mass), with a hosanna doubling the heart and then shutting itself in a benedictus of intimate beauty. Finally, an agnus dei that, curiously, is divided between the soloist and the choir, while the "dona nobis pacem" that closes the work, recovers music from glory. Thus, it gives a certain cyclical meaning to this superlative work that it gives to its performers, great moments at the same time as it demands great sacrifices from them. 

A cathedral of the spirit  for the new millennium

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) built throughout the last years of his life the monumental musical corpus that can be considered his "testament" and that includes The musical offering, The art of escape and the Mass itself m. This last work perfectly synthesizes all the knowledge and talent in the art of composition (essentially, in the counterpoint) as well as the inventive capacity of this musician, his extraordinary sense of form, structure and of the metric. The Mass itself is considered one of the most remarkable musical utopias: a Catholic Mass composed by a Lutheran and not allowed to be inscribed in any liturgy of these two beliefs, but which is nevertheless one of the most important masterpieces of all. the times.

To reach us, this work has traveled a path as tortuous as it is spectacular. First, it was partially premiered in 1786. The Credo was later performed in a concert under the direction of Bach's second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel. The first complete performance was conducted by Carl Friedrich Zelter in 1811 at the Berlin Academy of Singing. Currently, there are a large number of performances, with large choirs and symphony orchestra or with chamber choir and orchestra with period instruments, not to mention the "minimalist" versions, with a maximum of ten singers. All of them have two common denominators: the universal recognition of their exceptional character, their beauty, their spiritual dimension, and the challenge of facing their great complexity linked to the difficulty that this still represents today, at the beginning of the century. XXI.

The fulfillment of our project of the Mass itself with La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations has been based on a new approach to the different fundamental criteria regarding the conception, organization and interpretation of both the work itself as the means necessary for its realization. Placing the Mass in its traditional and historical context, we have decided to use our own vocal and instrumental team, in accordance with what we believe requires the score, practice and style of the time. (simply giving up white voices):

  1. A set of voices that share the responsibilities for the arias, quartets and quintets "a soli" (favorite choir) and that form the large ensembles (big choir).
  2. A set of period instruments as required by Bach: 12 wind instruments and 13 bowed instruments. One wooden organ he plays the basso continuo which, according to Bach's aesthetic, "is the surest foundation of music", adding that it had "the ultimate cause and purpose of honoring God and recreating the spirit".

Reconsidering the distribution and participation of the vocal staff according to the real needs of the composition and following the tradition of works prior to Bach, such as those of Schütz, Biber or Rosenmüller, we have recovered the use of the "favorite choir" (from 4 to 10 solo voices), opposite the “chapel” (a set of 21 to 27 voices that form the “big choir”). According to Schütz's preface to his polychoral work of the Psalms of David (1619), the “favorite choir” must always be accompanied by the basso continuo (organ), while the “chapel” is supported by “colla parte” instruments and brings together all the voices in order to obtain a contrasting ensemble. According to this criterion, in the Mass itself, the “favorite choir” intervenes whenever the instrumental accompaniment of the voices is reduced to two flutes, strings and violins (Who tolls, And incarnate, beginning of the I think) or a simple continuous bass (Confectioner), while the orchestra intervenes with all its members or doubles the voices “colla parte” when it accompanies all the sung voices (“favorite choir” and “big choir” together). In this way, the balance between voices and instruments is much more subtle and the contrasts between intimate moments and joyful moments are more marked.

Another fundamental aspect in the interpretation is the declamation and the articulation of the text, that inspires at the same time all the phrasing and the instrumental articulations. In a realistic perspective, we have opted for a pronunciation of Latin based on a synthetic idea: Germanic basis and details of knowledge of ancient Roman Latin (which can be performed by a cultured German-speaking singer, with the accent of his language in vowels - very difficult to change - but aware of the differences in Latin pronunciation in consonants).

Addressing the Mass itself is a real challenge for any performer, because the immense spiritual and aesthetic dimension of this work and its perfect balance between virtuosity, emotion, purity and eloquence reach extreme levels of musical language that place it in the highest dimension, the most universal ever achieved by man. This work summarizes the knowledge of a lifetime, in which the past is combined (style ancient) and the present (baroque and gallant) to hint at the future of a truly universal and transcendent musical language.

Jordi Savall
(Bellaterra, autumn 2012)




Choir for 5 (all)
Kyrie eleison.

Duet (soprano I & II)
Christe eleison.

Choir for 4 (all)
Kyrie eleison.


Choir for 5 (all)
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Choir for 5 (all)
Et in terra pax
hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Aria (soprano II)
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
we adore you, we glorify you.

Choir for 4 (all)
Gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Duet (soprano I & tenor)
Domine Deus, Rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite
Jesus Christ is very high.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.

Quartet (solos)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram.

Air (high)
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
miserere nobis.

Air (low)
Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
you alone Dominus,
tu solus altissimus Jesu Christe.

Choir for 5 (all)
Cum Sancto Spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.


Quintet (solos)
I believe in one God.

Choir for 4 (all)
I believe in one God.
Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem coeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

Duet (soprano I & alto)
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum
et ex Patre natum ante omnia secula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
genitum, non factum,
consubstantialem Patri,
per omem omnia facta sunt.
Who propter our homines
et propter nostram salutem
descended from coelis.

Quintet (solos)
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto
ex Maria virgine, et homo factus est.

Choir for 4 (all)
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis
under Pontius Pilate,
passus et sepultus est.

Choir for 5 (all)
You resurrect the third
secundum scripturas;
et ascendit in coelum,
sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris,
et iterum venturus est cum gloria
to judge the living and the dead,
cujus regni non erit finis.

Aria (baritone) bass in score
Et in Spiritum sanctum
Dominum et vivificantem,
qui ex Patre Filioque procedit;
who cum Father and Son
simul adoratur et conglorificatur;
qui locutus est per Prophetas.
Et unam sanctam catholicam
et apostolicam ecclesiam.

Quintet (solos)
Confiteor unum baptisma
in remissionem peccatorum.
[Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum]

Choir for 5 (all)
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum
et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.


Choir for 6 (all)
Sanctus, sanctus,
sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria ejus.

Double choir at 8 (all)
Osanna in excelsis.

Aria (tenor)
Benedictus qui veni in nomine Domini.

Double choir at 8 (all)
Osanna in excelsis.


Air (high)
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.

Choir for 4 (all)
Dona nobis pacem.




Heart to 5 (all)
Lord, have mercy.

Duet (soprano I and II)
Christ, have mercy

Heart to 4 (all)
Lord, have mercy.


Heart to 5 (all)
Glory to God in the highest.

Heart to 5 (all)
And on earth, peace
to men of good will.

Aria (soprano II)
We praise you, we bless you,
we adore you, we glorify you.

Heart to 4 (all)
Thank you
for your immense glory.

Duet (soprano I and tenor)
Lord, King of heaven
God the Father Almighty.
Lord, only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ, Most High.
Lord God, Lamb of God.
Son of the Father.

Quartet (solo)
You who take away the sin of the world
have mercy on us
You who take away the sin of the world
have mercy on us.

Aria (countertenor)
You who sit at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

Aria (low)
Because you are the only Saint,
You are the only Lord,
You are the only Most High, Jesus Christ.

Heart to 5 (all)
With the Holy Spirit
and the Glory of God the Father.


Quintet (solo)
I believe in one God.

Heart to 4 (all)
I believe in one God.
Almighty Father,
creator of heaven and earth
of all things visible and invisible.

Duet (soprano I and countertenor)
And I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ.
only-begotten son of God,
and born of the father before all ages.
God, born of God, light, glow of light,
True God, born of the true God,
canned, not created,
of the very nature of the Father,
For him everything was created,
Which, for us men,
and for our salvation,
down from the heavens.

Quintet (solo)
And by the work of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became a man.

Quartet (all)
Crucified later by us
under the power of Pontius Pilate,
he suffered and was buried.

Heart to 5 (all)
And on the third day he rose again.
as the scriptures already said
and ascended into heaven,
where he sits at the right hand of the Father,
and he will return glorious to judge
the living and the dead
and his reign shall have no end.

Aria (low)
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
who is Lord and infuses life,
which comes from the Father and the Son,
and together with the Father and the Son
he is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the mouth of the prophets.
And in a church,
holy, catholic and apostolic.

Quintet (solo)
I profess that there is only one baptism
to forgive sin.
[And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead]

Heart to 5 (all)
And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of glory. Amen.


Heart to 6 (all)
Sant, Sant,
Holy is the Lord God of the universe.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Double heart to 8 (all)
Glory to the heights.

Aria (tenor)
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,

Double heart to 8 (all)
Glory to the heights.


Aria (countertenor)
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.

Heart to 4 (all)
Give us peace.


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