Revised 30 September 2008


The B Minor Mass is a setting of the Latin Mass, also known as the Catholic Mass.  It contains segments of previously written works that date back to 1724.  The completed work was finished about 1749 and was performed just prior to Bach's death in 1750.

The Sanctus is said to have been composed in 1724. 

The Kyrie and Gloria are said to have been composed in 1733.  The Kyrie was supposedly a lament for the death of Elector Agustus the Strong, who died in 1733.  The Gloria was then written for his successor, King Augustus III, who converted to Catholicism in order to ascend the throne of Poland.

It is said that in 1734, Bach performed a secular cantata that uses the same music as the Osanna. 

The Credo is believed to have been written in 1732.

By the time of Bach's death, he had become totally blind.  C. P. E. Bach is known to have made annotations and corrections to his father's music and to also have added emendations and revisions of his own.

Text of the B Minor Mass

This link will take you to a link that gives the Latin/English text to the Mass.  From there, you will find links that explain each of the individual movements.  There are also some outside links to other web sites that go into greater detail than I can present.  These links will take you off site.  Please use your back arrow to return to the Tin Type Shop.  Thanks.