Mass in G minor

Mass in G minor

BWV 235 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Grote Kerk, Naarden

  • Menu
  • Kyrie eleison (coro)
  • Gloria in excelsis (coro)
  • Gratias agimus tibi (aria)
  • Domine Deus (aria)
  • Qui tollis (aria)
  • Cum Sancto Spiritu?? (coro)

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Best of Bach

In his 'short' Masses, Bach created a safe haven for his favourite cantata movements

The four short Masses that Bach wrote in the 1730s are shrouded in mystery. These ‘Lutheran’ or ‘Short’ Masses are written in Latin, which is unusual for Bach, and they consist of only a Kyrie and a Gloria. What’s more, Bach compiled these Masses almost entirely of material from a small number of sacred cantatas. The Mass in G minor derives its opening from cantata 102, while the other two choruses and three arias are taken from cantatas 187 and 72. Although adjustments had to be made here and there – passages are cut out or added and the key or register is adapted – the chorus from cantata 102 has been transferred more or less intact. The three lines of text derived from Jeremiah fit amazingly well to the tripartite Kyrie-Christe-Kyrie invocation.

It does not seem too far-fetched to presume that Bach wrote these Masses to create a safe haven for some of his favourite pieces. The neutral character of a Latin Mass means it can be used on far more occasions than the one specific moment in the ecclesiastical year assigned to the cantatas written in German.

But why did Bach choose Latin for these Masses? Was he aiming to strengthen his ties with the Catholic king Augustus III in Dresden, who had just come to the throne? 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. With a little delay, Bach was indeed appointed Composer to the Dresden court in 1736. The position lent Bach a status that was to serve him well in his many conflicts with the church council in Leipzig. And with regard to creating a safe haven for his favourite pieces, Bach had also judged well. His Lutheran Masses have withstood the ravages of time, whereas much of his cantata work has been lost. 

Mass in G minor
Lutheran or Short Mass
Latin church music
Special notes
Compiled from music composed earlier for cantatas 102, 72 and 187.

Extra videos

Conductor Jos van Veldhoven

“Why did Bach reuse music from his earlier compositions for this Mass?”

Bass Peter Kooij

“Bach may have written technically difficult music but it can always be done.”

Vocal texts


1. Coro
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison.

2. Coro
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
et in terra pax hominibus
bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
adoramus te, glorificamus te.

3. Aria (basso)
Gratias agimus tibi 
propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.

4. Aria (alto)
Domine Fili unigenite,
Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
miserere nobis.

5. Aria (tenore)
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
tu solus Dominus,
tu solus altissimus,
Jesu Christe.

6. Coro
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.

3. Aria
We give you thanks
for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly king,
God the Father almighty.

4. Aria
Lord, only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
who takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

5. Aria
Who takes away the sins of the world
receive our prayer,
who sits at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us
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
    10 April 2015
  • Recording date
    11 October 2014
  • Location
    Grote Kerk, Naarden
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Alto
    Alex Potter
  • Tenor
    Thomas Hobbs
  • Bass
    Peter Kooij
  • Ripieno soprano
    Lauren Armishaw, Marjon Strijk (solo), Kristen Witmer
  • Ripieno alto
    Marleene Goldstein, Barnabás Hegyi
  • Ripieno tenor
    João Moreira, Kevin Skelton
  • Ripieno bass
    Matthew Baker, Jelle Draijer
  • Violin 1
    Shunske Sato, Anneke van Haaften, Annelies van der Vegt
  • Violin 2
    Sayuri Yamagata, Pieter Affourtit, Paulien Kostense
  • Viola
    Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
  • Double bass
    Robert Franenberg
  • Traverso
    Marten Root
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Trumpet
    Robert Vanryne
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Positive organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Concert production
    Imke Deters, Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
  • Producers
    Zoë de Wilde, Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Director of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg
  • Camera
    Sal Kroonenberg, Robert Berger, Ruben van den Broeke, Benjamin Sparschuh
  • Film editors
    Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
  • Music recording producer
    Leo de Klerk
  • Gaffer
    Zen Bloot
  • Best boys
    Roeland van Bemmel, Patrick Galvin
  • Score reader
    MaNOj Kamps
  • Music recording assistants
    Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel
  • Camera assistants
    Izak de Dreu, Zino Rosmolen
  • Music edit and mix
    Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
  • Music edit assistant
    Martijn Snoeren
  • Interviews
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders

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