The Joy of Total Bach B Minor Mass

November 18, 2011 Comments Off on The Joy of Total Bach B Minor Mass


There’s not much I can say about the new Digital Bach Project, newly launched by the University of Oregon and the Oregon Bach Festival. You will need to see and hear it for yourself.

But before you click on the link, please, feed the family, walk the dog, make sure you haven’t left the stove on. You are about to enter total B Minor Mass immersion.Be careful-you may not come out the same person who went in.

If you start here  you can click on the word “Exploring” and be guided in the web site’s use. There are links to 3 hours of lectures connected with various parts of the buildings in the picture, or from the menu at the top of the page. More links are connected to the words. There’s also a YouTube video introduction to the site here.

OR, you can go directly to the music, which plays  in synchrony with the manuscript score. Start at any section, say the Sanctus. The music unfolds bar by bar, line by line in Bach’s hand. You can stop it and start it and magnify it and move it around, sort of like a Google map of Bach in sound and score. Do you want to know what the words are during the Osanna?  Click on Text. Do you want to know what Rilling had to say about this part right here, where the flutes are tripping up and down and in and out of the voices? Click on Cuepoints. Are those really 32nd note triplets? Click on Page to go up close. Do you want to see that lovely thing the trumpet just did, see how Bach notated it? Click on Lens for a closeup of this ornament. You can see how his pen moved across the page.

Just don’t blame me if your chores don’t get done this week.

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