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Noon Edition

Bach: Mass in B minor, “Et in terra pax”

The city of Leipzig played an important role in the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach, but he often had scuffles with his employer, the Leipzig Town Council. This prompted him to apply to several positions around Germany, including a position at the court of Augustus III in Dresden in 1733. For his “job application,” so to speak, Bach composed what would later become the first two movements of the monumental Mass in B Minor, the Kyrie and the Gloria. On its completion, Bach visited Augustus and presented him with a copy of the Mass, together with a petition to be given a court title. While the petition did not meet with immediate success, Bach eventually got the job: he was made court composer to Augustus in 1736. We do not know when Bach decided to complete the rest of the Mass as we know it today, but scholars believe that this monumental masterwork was completed in 1747, just a few years before Bach died.

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