Bach’s Mass in B minor
Bach breaks out regularly in the churches and concert halls of Boston and Cambridge. Last night Musica Sacra performed Bach’s Mass in B minor at First Church Congregational in Cambridge. A metropolitan area so cerebral and confident–with talent all around and willing singers stepping forward everywhere–could hardly avoid Bach. Bach was a German Lutheran, not an English Puritan, but his music attracts a crowd of eager, over-educated Cambridge types, the skeptical intellectual heirs of the great and pious founders of Harvard, who established the college as a community of learning in pursuit of “Truth for Christ and the Church”.
Bach constructed cathedrals of sound and musical ideas, the highest artistic achievement of Reformation thought. Scholars and musicians say that his Mass in B minor is a masterpiece, a representation of the best of the liturgical pattern of the Catholic Mass, informed with theological free-thinking, artistic discipline and faith, renewed by Luther.