The concept of Bach's Mass in B minor has settled comfortably into our collective memory. Yet the work was neither conceived nor written as an entity. The Sanctus formed its nucleus, but it was nine years later that Bach wrote the Kyrie and Gloria, and only at the end of his life that he composed the Credo. It is no wonder then that the work as a whole reads and sounds like a musical autobiography; it is an astounding display of melody and harmony, of styles and colours, and of vocal and instrumental techniques. And all linked to perfection of form and unprecedented expression. Particular mention has to be made of the passage Bach added during his final revision of the work, the 'Et incarnatus est', which, with its combination of unexampled polyphony and musical rhetoric, points humanity and music forward to the future.
In the hands of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (currently celebrating its thirtieth anniversary), Arsys Borgogne's equally vivid and homogenous constellation of voices, and these soloists, this monument of the Baroque becomes above all an ode to the genius of its creator.