Bach, Johann Sebastian
Mass B minor BWV 232
Facsimile of the autograph score in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Edition no.
BVK 1911
Volume / Series
Documenta musicologica II/35 / Bärenreiter Facsimile
Wolff, Christoph
Language(s) of work
German, English, Japanese
Product format
Newly published as BVK 2194 (now linen bound with silver embossing, print unchanged)
Half-cloth binding
Pages / Format
XLVI, 208 S. - 35,5 x 24,0 cm
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Opus ultimum” is the second publication in the Bärenreiter Facsimile series, following that of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.
The work was completed in 1748/49, after the Art of Fugue, shortly before Bach’s death. This late work is as concentrated and rich in compositional technique as scarcely any other work. As early as 1818, Hans Nägeli enthusiastically described the Mass as the “greatest musical artwork of all time and all nations”. Since then, it has been ranked as an icon of music history.
One of the primary functions of a facsimile is the preservation of such a cultural heritage, particularly when the manuscript (as is the case with the Mass in B minor) is endangered and damaged by iron gall ink erosion. Furthermore, it is moving for Bach admirers to see how in some passages, Bach’s handwriting reflects the effort which this last work demanded of him.
The facsimile, which has been lovingly reproduced and lavishly published, documents and records the present condition of the complete autograph score. Older reproductions have substituted a few individual folios where the content has become difficult to read in recent years. The renowned Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the work’s significance in his introduction, gives an overview of the history of composition, and draws attention to particular distinguishing features of the manuscript.

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Lieferbarkeitsanzeigeout of print (Newly published as BVK 2194 (now linen bound with silver embossing, print unchanged))