Mass in F Major

Mass in F Major

BWV 233 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann
Grote Kerk, Harlingen

  • Menu
  • 1. Kyrie
  • 2. Gloria
  • 3. Domine Deus
  • 4. Qui Tollis
  • 5. Quoniam
  • 6. Cum Sancto Spiritu

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos


Bach made it difficult for himself

“Whatever the case, this mass is a Sonderweg in Bach’s music”, says conductor Christoph Rademann. The opening, a dignified Kyrie, is written in an old style à la Palestrina. Bach composed this Kyrie in Weimar already, and in the five-voiced first version the first soprano sings the chorale melody 'Christe, du Lamm Gottes'. The words of this first version were partly in German, and it demanded great creativity to translate it into a full Latin version. The chorale melody is played by horns and oboes.

Bach anyway made it difficult for himself, as he incorporated earlier compositions into other parts as well. In the ‘Qui tollis’, for instance, we hear the originally passive oboe melody ‘Weh der Seele’ from the cantata Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102. As regards sentiment, this is a good match for the ‘He who bears the sins of the world’. Here, too, Bach makes many small adjustments: the alto becomes a soprano, the music as a whole is tightened up, and there are little changes to the song line, including a brief step up especially for the word ‘Qui’, where in the original there was one long note for the word ‘Weh’. For the ‘Cum sancto spiritu’, Bach used the opening section of the cantata BWV 40.

'Lutheran' Masses, BWV 233-236
The four short masses written by Bach in the 1730s, are shrouded in mystery. These ‘Lutheran’ or ‘Short’ masses are in Latin, which is unusual for Bach, and consist of only a Kyrie and a Gloria. Moreover, Bach compiled these masses almost completely from material originating from a small number of sacred cantatas. It would seem reasonable to assume that Bach was creating a safe haven for some of his favourite pieces in these masses. Because of its neutral character, a Latin mass could be used on far more occasions than the one specific moment in the ecclesiastical year for which the German cantatas were intended. But the question remains of why Bach chose Latin. Maybe he wanted these masses to help strengthen the ties with the Catholic king August III, who had just come to the throne in Dresden. In any case, we know for certain that another Mass from this series, the Mass in B minor (which Bach later expanded) was dedicated to Augustus in 1733.

Mass in F Major
Lutheran or 'Short' mass
Latin church music
Special notes
Compiled from music that was composed earlier: BWV 233a, BWV 102 and BWV 40.

Extra videos

Conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann

“This wonderful Mass with the horns is another pearl among the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.”

Vocal texts


1. Chor
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison.

2. Chor
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
et in terra pax hominibus
bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
adoramus te, glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam.

3. Arie (Bass)
Domine Deus, rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite,
Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.

4. Arie (Sopran)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
miserere nobis.

5. Arie (Alt)
Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
tu solus Dominus,
tu solus altissimus,
Jesu Christe.

6. Chor
Cum Sancto Spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.


1. Chorus
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.

2. Chorus
Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to men 
of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we worship you, we glorify you.
We give you thanks 
for your great glory.

3. Aria
Lord God, heavenly king,
God the Father almighty.
Lord, only begotten Son, 
Jesus Christ,
Lord God, Lamb of God, 
Son of the Father,

4. Aria
Who takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Who takes away the sins of the world
receive our prayer,
who sits at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

5. Aria
Since you alone are holy,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are most high
Jesus Christ.

6. Chorus
With the Holy Spirit 
in the glory of God the Father.


  • Release date
    21 October 2016
  • Recording date
    23 January 2016
  • Location
    Grote Kerk, Harlingen
  • Conductor
    Hans-Christoph Rademann
  • Soprano
    Zsuzsi Tóth
  • Alto
    Elsbeth Gerritsen
  • Bass
    Matthew Brook
  • Ripieno soprano
    Lauren Armishaw, Lucie Chartin
  • Ripieno alto
    Barnabás Hegyi, Bart Uvyn
  • Ripieno tenor
    Daniel Johannsen, Immo Schröder, Kevin Skelton
  • Ripieno bass
    Sebastian Myrus, Drew Santini
  • Violin 1
    Sayuri Yamagata, Anneke van Haaften, Annelies van der Vegt
  • Violin 2
    Pieter Affourtit, Hanneke Wierenga, Lidewij van der Voort
  • Viola
    Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
  • Double bass
    Robert Franenberg
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Horn
    Erwin Wieringa, Gijs Laceulle
  • Organ
    Bart Naessens
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Director
    Simon Aarden
  • Assistant director
    Ferenc Soetman
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Micha de Kanter
  • Music editor
    Guido Tichelman
  • Lights
    Daan de Boer, Arjen Seykens
  • Camera
    Bart ten Harkel, Thijs Struick, Chris Reichgelt
  • Image technique
    Vincent Nugteren
  • Editor
    Pjotr 's-Gravesande
  • Project manager nep
    Peter Ribbens
  • Technique
    Martin Struijf, Glenn van den Eerden, Marco Korzelius
  • Data management
    Jasper Blok
  • Interview
    Gijs Besseling, Jan Van den Bossche
  • Producer concert
    Imke Deters
  • Producer film
    Marco Meijdam
  • Acknowledgements
    Guusje Roos

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