Variations on an Original Theme Opus 36 (9) Edward Elgar Download 'Variations on an Original Theme Opus 36 (9)' on iTunes
20 April 2016, 17:24
Classical music has so many moments of sheer power and joy. Here's one from the choral work many say is the greatest masterpiece of all.
It comes in Bach's Cum sancto spiritu - the epic finale to the Gloria of his B Minor Mass. We reckon it's incredible, and worth shouting about all on its own.
It all kicks off at a fair old lick, with some rapid call and response from the choir, infectiously pulsing strings and blazing trumpets and drums. Oboe, flute and basso continuo scramble away on animated semiquavers. Every phrase is a wonderful, ecstatic swell, with the long phrase on the word Gloria arching like the dome of the most beautiful Baroque cathedral.
A breathless fugue follows and the overlapping lines feel just ecstatic and Bach pulls you in different harmonic directions. Then with one final wonderful climax the Baroque master gives us a joyous 'Amen'.
Each rapturous note is caught perfectly in this stunning 2015 recording from John Elliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir.