BBC Music Magazine

The composer


Though Bach’s Mass in B minor was one of his last works to be completed and never performed during his lifetime, its compositio­n spanned much of his period living in Leipzig. Appointed Cantor at the city’s St Thomas Church in 1723, Bach’s extensive duties included training the choristers and writing music for services. He wrote more than 300 cantatas for performanc­e in Leipzig plus the St John and St Matthew passions. He continued to remain employed by the church until his death in 1750, though his last months were dogged by ill health and blindness.

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