Bach’s High Mass by Savall

fri 25 oct 2013
Theme: Early Music

The broadcasts on Monday 30 September and 28 October (19.00-20.00) in our series about Jordi Savall feature a complete performance of the High Mass by J. S. Bach. The performance is in the masterful hands of Jordi Savall himself.


The High Mass BWV 232 by Johann Sebastian Bach is special in many ways for Jordi Savall. He considers this work by Bach to be a great challenge for every musician because of its enormous spiritual and esthetic dimensions. In addition, he considers the High Mass to be the perfect balance between virtuosity, emotion, purity and musicality, and to be one of humanity’s most important musical achievements.



Savall approached the composition of the orchestra and choir for the performance in a special way. He formed an academy for this purpose and the members were selected by a public competition. The outcome was a group of 27 young musicians from Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East.

The orchestra plays on the historic instruments indicated by Bach: 12 wind instruments, 13 string instruments and an organ. Bach considered this combination of instruments to be the perfect basis for music.


savallUtopian work

There is something else that is special about the High Mass according to Savall. In his opinion, Bach has written the High Mass as a utopian work, as it concerns a Catholic mass, but was written by a Lutheran composer and does not conform to the traditions of either the Catholic or Protestant liturgies.

Despite these contradictions, Savall still considers the High Mass to be one of the greatest musicals works of all time. 


In the performance, Jordi Savall conducts his ensembles La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations.



  • part 1: Monday 30 September, 19.00-20.00
  • part 2: Monday 28 October, 19.00-20.00


Click here to listen to the broadcast of part 1.