Scholar and performer Kenneth Slowik examines Johann Sebastian Bach's towering setting of the Mass, assembled in the last years of the composer's life as a stunning summation of his art. Seminar attendees may purchase specially priced tickets to the Washington Bach Consort's April 28 presentation of the B Minor Mass. Please call 202-633-3030 for more information on how to receive this offer.
The seminar includes a brief history of Mass settings before Bach, consideration of the Roman Mass and Lutheran Missa traditions, discussion of parody as a legitimate musical practice, and a survey of the work's performance history (including its reception). There is also a retrospective look at the still-controversial one-on-a part performance style first associated with the early 1980s recording of BWC 232 by Joshua Rifkin's Bach Ensemble (of which Slowik was part). It was derided by some as the "B Minor Madrigal," but it opened the door for a completely new appreciation of the work. Slowik takes a close look at the structure and music of the B Minor Mass in a discussion amply illustrated with examples from a variety of historical and contemporary recordings.