Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kobayashi, Yoshitake. "Universality in Bach's B Minor Mass: A Portrait of Bach in His Final Years." Bach 24, no. 2 (1993): 3-25.

In the closing movement of his B Minor Mass, Bach parodies the "Gratias agimus tibi" from earlier in the work, instead of drawing on the Kyrie material, as was the more common practice. Friedrich Smend criticized Bach for expressing the final prayer with music from the Gloria, arguing that the Kyrie music would have been more appropriate. Yet Bach's approach is highly convincing. For Bach, the final "Dona nobis pacem" is not a prayer for peace calling for Kyrie material, but an expression of gratitude, "a thanksgiving not only for the completion of his opus ultimum but beyond that for his entire oeuvre." Bach did not borrow here to save time. Contrary to Schering's conclusion that the "strangely unsettled" "Benedictus" originally must have belonged to another text, Bach probably sketched the movement in lighter ink and then traced it with darker ink, which would indicate a careful conception rather than a parody.

Index Classifications: 1700s

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