1/4 - Hohe Messe preview

Tonight is the night: directed by Daniel Reuss, Cappella Amsterdam & Il Gardellino will perform  J.S. Bach’s Hohe Messe in a concert hall.  Though no doubt a fantastic happening, it doesn’t sound too strange. However, at the time of Bach, this would have been an awkward happening.

Stephen Westra explains why in a short preview. ‘Religious Music was performed in a religious environment, in other words in church. And it would not have been performed as a piece as such, but as a part of a service. Music was meant to intensify the religious message.’

However, would Bachs Hohe Messe have played such a role, then a couple of questions do arise. ‘Performing all four parts will take a better part of your evening, so how could it ever have been part of a service? What’s more, Bach worked in a Lutheran environment (in Leipzig), so why compose a mass? A Latin mass in a Lutheran church, usually insisting on using the language of the people, in this case German: not a very likely combination, to say the least.

‘Whatever the answers, the Hohe Messe is the work of a man that wanted to create a tremendous tribute to God. Not that its value immediately trickled through to mankind: 85 years after Bach’s death, the pieces had never even been performed! Times have changed for the better: tonight we can enjoy Bach’s master piece for the second time this week. This Monday Daniel Reuss, Cappella Amsterdam and Il Gardellino showed their skills to a almost sold-out main concert hall at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam. Tonight, people visiting the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence (France) will witness yet another ravishing performance! If you are there: enjoy it!

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