The current state of affairs in the US, and in the West generally, is bringing me down. The last stanza of Paul Simon’s American Tune is especially poignant:
We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest
We can’t be forever blessed but we must still press on.
Paul Simon stole the tune from Bach: the setting of “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” (head full o’ blood and wounds) from the St. Matthew Passion.
This has just been a sneaky way to come around to the real purpose of this post, which is to share with you this magnificent recording I found tonight of Bach’s B-minor Mass. Even though Bach was a Lutheran, this mass is fully in line with the Roman Catholic liturgy as far as I can tell. It is performed in the beautiful, though rather spare, Grote Kerk in the town of Naarden, near Amsterdam.
My favorite parts include the soprano duet (dueling sopranos!) Christe eleison at 11:07, the soprano aria Laudamus at 26:06, the joyous chorus Et resurrexit at 1:08:58, and rounding it off with the serene Dona nobis pacem at 1:45:17.
If, like me, you’ve been feeling a bit black pilled lately, this is just the ticket.
If you still hunger for more Bach, you might enjoy my Bach playlist on the YouTubes.