October 25 & 26
J.S. Bach’s son, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, cataloged this work as The Great Catholic Mass. It is indeed a setting of the ordinary of the Catholic Mass, a peculiar genre for a Lutheran musician. Bach, the recycler, wrote the Sanctus in 1724. In 1733, he wrote the Kyrie and Gloria and submitted it for a job application to become the Court Composer for the Elector of Saxony. The rest of the work was completed in the last three year’s of his life, for reasons unknown.
Regardless of the origins and motivations, this is one of the supreme masterworks of the genre. It’s been called “a cathedral in sound” and is an apt metaphor. Out of the many movements and sub movements of the Mass, through the chorus’s, solos, and duets, the work provides an experience of wonder, awe, majesty, and solemn profundity.