Johann Sebastian Bach. Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
During the Advent season, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra led by its artistic director and principal conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius will invite its Vilnius audiences to appreciate one of the most monumental compositions in Western music, Mass in B Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). This masterpiece of Baroque's choral music was one of Bach's last compositions, completed in the year before his death. Given its sheer scale and grandeur, the listener may come away with the impression that the Mass is the final work of the composer's entire life; however, much of the music had been composed earlier on different occasions. Regardless of this, the composition is a perfect manifestation of Bach's lifelong mission to express faith through music into a majestic oeuvre permeated by intellectual and spiritual exaltation. Thundering fugues and resplendent choral music combine the forces of choir and orchestra to the utmost effect while vocal and instrumental solos compete with opera in tenderness and dramatic presence. The Mass is not a single object, but rather a synthesis of Bach's entire creative work. That's why its musical and spiritual unity is even more remarkable than its grand scale, considering the different compositional techniques used in different parts of the Mass. As a matter of fact, Bach never heard a performance of the full work since it was performed for the first time over a hundred years after the composer's death. Bach's Mass in B Minor is considered by many as one of the greatest works of all times and all people, comparable to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel or Shakespeare's plays, and to hear the Mass performed live is a must for anyone.