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Bach Mass in B Minor


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Anyone willing to recommend a favorite modern-instrument recording of the Bach Mass in B Minor? (Nothing against period performance; it's just not for me.) Older recordings are ok; it doesn't have to be cutting-edge digital sound quality. I've been browsing the available CDs on Amazon and can't make up my mind.

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I love the Karl Richter/Archiv recording.

Equally wonderful is Richter's Christmas Oratorio (featuring some great voices--Fritz Wunderlich & Dietrich Fischer-Diskau)...and his cantata recordings. (We picked up a few of those on CD in Canada). Brandenburgs, too.

I know that Amazon has an amazing 10 CD set called Bach's Sacred Masterpieces includes Richter's St. Matt's Passion, St John's Passion, Christmas Oratorio, & B-Minor Mass--ALL for $72.00!!!!


These recordings, absolutely without question, are among the most perfect performances of JS Bach you will ever hear, dating as they do from the heyday of the DGG Archiv Produktion in the late 1950's and early 60s. From every point of view, Karl Richter was a superlative Bach conductor, and the performances he achieved, orchestrally and vocally, are without equal. He understood exactly how this music was to be played, and then achieved the impossible. If this set of recordings does not "make the case" for any of the works included, absolutely no others will. Richter's orchestra performs on "modern instruments" - which, for 21st century ears is just fine. The music itself comes through gloriously. DGG's engineers have preserved the originals such that they sound absolutely magnificent. This was certainly a restoration of great love and care.

Even if you can't afford it, you should also spring for the DGG re-issue of Richter's 26 CD set (!) of the Cantatas as well. ..., it's an unbelievable bargin. The performances, there too, are superlative.

(I agree with another reviewer, though, who prefers Richter's 1970's St. Matt's to the earlier one on this set)

The B-minor Mass is just about my favorite Bach. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play it when I was sixteen or seventeen, and it completely altered my perspective on a lot of things (music, Bach, religion....).


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Blanche Moyse is one of the most renown interpreters of Bach's sacred pieces today. Her recording of the b-minor mass is magnificent. It is produced by the Brattleboro Music Center in Brattleboro, VT. (38 Walnut St. 05301 zip, I think) Every year in October there is a Bach festival with Blanche conducting at Marlboro, VT. She was 95 this year, and still conducting! My violin teacher has been her concertmaster for over 22 years.

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