The Kentucky Bach Choir and University of Kentucky Chorale are teaming up for the first time to present J.S. Bach’s “Mass in b minor” Friday night, a work that organizers believe has not been presented in Lexington in decades.
“As far as we can tell from conversations with choral musicians who have been in the area for a long time, this is likely the first Lexington performance of the b-minor mass in its entirety in nearly 40 years,” Bach choir director Marlon Hurst said in an email. “The UK Chorale has dedicated their entire academic year to the learning of this work, and the Bach Choir has dedicated our spring semester to the same.”
UK Chorale Director Jefferson Johnson said the 1724 work warranted the effort.
“This is one of the most beloved yet difficult works in the choral repertoire, rarely heard because of its demands and challenges,” Johnson wrote. “The Mass in b minor is generally considered by choral conductors to be the ultimate ‘bucket list’ piece: the product of an inspired genius at the top of his game.”
In addition to the combined choirs, the performance will feature a full baroque orchestra of 22 musicians, some playing period-specific instruments. In addition to Friday’s performance at the Cathedral of Christ the King, the ensemble will present the work at Louisville’s Cathedral of the Assumption at 7 p.m. April 6.