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Music Festival Berlin 2023

Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent will dedicate themselves to Johann Sebastian Bach's opus magnum, the Mass in B minor, at the Musikfest Berlin on September 13.

Collegium Vocale Gent
Collegium Vocale Gent © Eric de Mildt

In his Mass in B minor, Johann Sebastian Bach, as a kind of balance sheet of his composer's life, once again fused diverse influences into extraordinary music. The orchestra and choir of the Collegium Vocale Gent, together with experienced soloists, will perform this interdenominational work. The conductor is Philippe Herreweghe.

The soloists are Dorothee Mields, Margot Oitzinger, Alex Potter, Guy Cutting and Peter Kooij.

Philippe Herreweghe accomplished his first musical feat in his early twenties. While still a student, he founded the ensemble that has been inseparably linked with his name for more than 50 years, the Collegium Vocale Gent:

"At that time, it was primarily a matter of regaining an awareness of correct phrasing, ornamentation and playing technique. Only after ten years of apprenticeship have I managed to see these stylistic devices as tools of the trade, and with their help to make the Bach of which I am personally convinced."

Herreweghe, with his text-oriented and rhetorical approach, is considered a superior Bach interpreter, and his readings with period instruments and lean choral scoring have been enthusiastically received worldwide.

At the Musikfest Berlin, the choir and orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe are guests with Johann Sebastian Bach's last great artistic work: the Mass in B minor.

Bach created an interdenominational work here, setting the Latin text of the Catholic mass liturgy as a Protestant cantor. With the great variety of musical forms and styles, contrapuntal density and concertante lightness, contemplative surfaces and dramatic affectation, he once again bundled the wealth of his compositional possibilities.

No wonder that the 99-page manuscript of this extraordinary work, preserved in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, is now a UNESCO World Documentary Heritage site.

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