Many call it the greatest choral work ever composed. Bach's monumental Mass in B minor has, for the last 360 years, provided challenges and ecstasies for both performers and listeners. Considered the choral equivalent of The Art of the Fugue, the B minor Mass took 25 years to complete and was, in essence, the culmination of Bach's musical and spiritual journey. The fact that one of the world's most famous and enduring Roman Catholic masses was composed by a dedicated Lutheran is even more remarkable. The B minor Mass was composed in stages, from 1733-1748, but sadly, Bach never lived to hear it in its entirety. We, however, are luckier; this weekend, the Los Angeles Bach Festival comes to its traditional conclusion as artistic director Jonathan Talberg leads the Festival Chorus and Orchestra in a performance of the grand work that one music historian proclaimed “the most astounding spiritual encounter between the worlds of Catholic glorification and the Lutheran cult of the cross.” First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave.; Sun., Nov. 2, 4 p.m.; $35-$20 donation. (213) 385-1345,

Sun., Nov. 2, 4 p.m., 2008

LA Weekly