Mass in B minor, BWV 80, II. Credo, 3: Et In Unum Dominum

Today for Classical Sunday, I’m featuring music by the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). I’ve previously posted about numerous works by this prolific artist, and each post links to an earlier one.

Bach completed the Mass in B Minor, BWV 80 a year before his death. The work was a massive collection of four sections and 27 movements, some of the material coming from other pieces composed more than 25 years earlier. Wikipedia also tells me it’s believed that Bach never heard the mass played in its entirety; the first documented, complete performance didn’t happen until 1859. The entire work would take about two hours to play… but don’t worry; we’re just listening to one movement today, about five minutes worth!

While surfing YouTube for suggestions this morning, I saw the video for the third movement from the second section, the Credo, of the Mass in B Minor. The piece is a duet that is sung to the Latin text, “Et in unum Dominum, Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt, qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis,” which translates to “And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by who all things were made: who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.”

I’m not very knowledgeable about sacred music or its relationship to religious doctrine; however, I would say the nine movements of the Mass’s second section represent the Christian creed (or system of beliefs). While not practising that faith in the organized sense, I feel the soaring voices in the duet blend beautifully and, along with the exquisite and varied instrumentation, weave together a splendid piece that is pleasurable to hear and, honestly, quite awe-inspiring.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here.

I hope you enjoy the video, which features two members of the British vocal octet VOCES8, first alto Katie Jeffries-Harris and artistic director/second alto/countertenor Barnaby Smith, accompanied by the Illyria Consort, a project of Croatian-born violinist Bojan Cicic:

With my best to you,


3 thoughts on “Mass in B minor, BWV 80, II. Credo, 3: Et In Unum Dominum

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