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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
  Mass in B Minor, BWV 232, Credo: Symbolm Nicenum c) Et Expecto
Johann Sebastian Bach
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 6 Tracks 18-19

And here is that bombastic ending Bach promised. It is curious to me that the scholars who put this collection together selected the conclusion of the Credo. Though bombastic, this excerpt is not a grand finale and the preceding few sections depend very heavily on the flow into this movement. Like the wonderful Cantata we heard earlier, this selection allows a lookat Bach’s dramatic abilities. It is curious to me only because, to my ears, that is not the most interesting aspect of Bach. What amazes me, in Bach’s music, is the strange feeling of weightlessness that usually happens in his slow movements.

Nevertheless, this toe-tapping resurrection offers plenty of gems. It erupts out of the floor and sets up a good groove. There is a lot going on but it is the trumpet that lasts in our ears. The trumpet does not accomplish any great melody or brassy stunts. The crisp rhythm and clear tone are beauty enough to finish this act.

What I like about this ascension is the orchestration. Tchaikovsky-like, Bach is able to accomplish a good wallop without inordinately large forces. It seems like there are hole bunches of instruments on stage, but most of the bigness in the sound comes from the choir. Because of the five-voiced gaggle of singers behind them, the orchestra has to do very little to sound really good.
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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