Second Concert of the Thirty-first Season
Relayed from the Central Hall, Newport
' Mass in B Minor'
ELSIE SUDDABY (Soprano) ETHEL BARKER (Contralto)
PARRY JONES (Tenor)
Topliss GREEN (Baritone)
THE CHOIR OF THE NEWPORT CHORAL SOCIETY
Conducted by ARTHUR E. Sims
Kyrie Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy upon us).
Christe eleison (Christ, have mercy upon us).
Duet, Soprano and Contralto
Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy upon us).
Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis (Glory to God on high, and on earth peace to men of goodwill). Chorus
Laudamus te, benedicamus te, adoramus to, glorificamus te (We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, wo glorify Thee). Soprano Solo
Domine Deus , rex coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens (0 Lord God, Heavenly King, God and Father Almighty). Domine Fili unigenito Jesu Christe altissimo (0 Lord, tha only begotten Son Jesus Christ mo,t high). Domino Deua, Agnus Dei , Filius Patris (0 Lord God, Lamb of God,- Son of the Father). Duet, Soprano and Tenor
Qui tollis peccata mundi (Thou that takest away , the sins of the world). Chorus
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere noliis
(Thou that sittcst at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us). Contralto Solo
Quoniam tu solus sanctus (For Thou only art holy). Bass Solo
Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen (With the Holy Ghost, in the Glory of God the Father, Amen). Five-part Chorus. fPO tho ordinary listener. ' Mass ' lias such a definitely Roman Catholic association as to seem inconsistent with the almost childliko simplicity of the great Bach's Lutheran worship. But the liturgy of the Lutheran church always included a ' Missa,' sung at the beginning of the principal service of the day : it consisted in settings of the Kyrie Eleison and the Gloria. Bach left four such complete ' Masses ' (' Messen ' in German), and that was also the original form of what afterwards grew into the great' B Minor.'
In 1733, after long and patient efforts to induce the Leipzig Town Council to improve the conditions under which he had to provide the church music, Bach petitioned his Prince at Dresden for the status of Court Musician, hoping that the dignity of such a title would command the Council's interest. And with his petition he sent the parts of the Kyrie and the Gloria now embodied in the greater work. So far as we know, they were never used, though they are still in the Royal Library at Dresden : and some years elapsed before the petition boro fruit.
The original score of the complete work is extant, as well as some original parts, but there is an interesting story told of the latter. It was known that some had been in tlia possession of a Bohemian noble family, and, when, in 1854, enquiries were made, at the suggestion of the Bach Gesellschaft , the reply received was that 'many years ago a lot of old music had been partly given away, partly lost; some of it had been given to the gardeners to wrap round the trees.'
The opening Kyrie Eleison is a prayer of pro. fcund solemnity : the choir sing the words, simply and with great strength, and an orchestial preludo introduces the noble chorus which seems to present the whole of Christendom in supplication to the heavenly Father. A glad confidence is the keynote of tha duct for two women's voices, to the words, ' Christi eleison': end when the choir follows onco more with ' Kyrie eleison,' it is in more serene and tranquil mood than at first.
The first part of the Gloria, in the Major, and at a brisk npeed, is a great • five-part song of praise and thanksgiving, in striking centrist 'to the solemnity of the Kyrie, and the soprano air 'Laudamus to with its beautiful violin solo part, built up on one of Bach's characteristic motives of joy, is no less eloquent of beatitude.
Then there follows a majestic chorus, in four parts-' Gratias agimus,' which is being omitted in this evening's concert; with it, the first section of the Gloria comes to an end. The Domine Deus, which follows, is hero a duet for soprano and tenor voices, with a beautifully melodious accompaniment; flute and violin between them have a happy figure which both voices imitate. Without a break there follows the very solemn chorus, ' Qui tollis,' with an accompaniment devised from one of the figures which Bach constantly used to depict profound grief. It leads straight into the happy air for alto, ' Qui sedes,' with its beautiful obbligato for oboe d'amore. After it, the Quoniam is given to a bass solo voice, and the orchestral bass voices have a large share in the accompaniment. Without a break we are brought to the joyous chorus ' Cum Bancto spiritu,' once more in five parts, and with it this evening's concert closes, the Credo, Hosanna, and Sanctus not being included.