The historically informed performance movement aims to let today’s audiences experience music as it would have been performed when it was conceived. However, Bach’s Mass in B Minor (completed in 1749) was not performed in full until 1859, so to perform it on Baroque period instruments, as Boston Baroque did Friday night at Jordan Hall, is to perpetuate a fascinating paradox of sorts. The fact that this incongruity has become the norm only demonstrates the timelessness of the Mass, a two-hour spiritual journey encompassing some of the composer’s finest writing. The venerated Bach scholar and conductor John Eliot Gardiner writes of a solid period-instrument performance, “[It] becomes a communal rite, one built on complicity and trust.”
Friday’s performance deserved that description and more.
Martin Pearlman conducts Boston Baroque, Bach B Minor Mass. For the Boston Globe.