Collegium Vocale Gent

Philippe Herreweghe, conductor
Bach: Missa b-Minor

It is a summation of his life as a composer – in his Mass in B minor, Johann Sebastian Bach once again amalgamated a multitude of influences into extraordinary music. At Musikfest Berlin 2023 the orchestra and choir of Collegium Vocale Gent will come together with a cast of distinguished soloists to perform this interdenominational work. The conductor is Philippe Herreweghe, whose work with Collegium Vocale Gent was celebrated at Musikfest Berlin last year.

Philippe Herreweghe

Philippe Herreweghe

© Michiel Hendryck

19:10, South Foyer
Work introduction

Philippe Herreweghe accomplished first great musical feat in his early twenties. While still a student he founded the ensemble that has been inseparably linked with his own name for over 50 years since: the Collegium Vocale Gent: “Back then my greatest concern was to regain awareness of the correct phrasing, ornamentation and performance technique. Only after ten years of teaching could I treat these stylistic elements as craftsmen’s tools that I could use to help me create the Bach that satisfies me personally.” With his text-centred and rhetorical approach, Herreweghe is regarded as an outstanding interpreter of Bach and his readings of the composer’s works, using historic instruments and a streamlined choral cast have been received enthusiastically all around with world. At Musikfest Berlin the choir and orchestra of Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe will present a guest performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s last great artistic work: the Mass in B minor. Here Bach created an interdenominational work, as a Protestant cantor setting the Latin text of the Catholic liturgical mass. With its wide range of musical forms and styles, contrapuntal density and concert-like ease, contemplative passages and dramatic emotional vocabulary, he once again brought together the entire wealth of his compositional powers. No wonder that the 99-page manuscript of this remarkable work, stored in the Berlin State Library, is included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.

Concert Programme

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Missa b-Minor BWV 232 (1733, 1748/49)


Dorothee Mields soprano
Margot Oitzinger mezzo soprano
Alex Potter countertenor
Guy Cutting tenor
Peter Kooij baritone

Choir and orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event