I have heard my share of "extra dozens of singers" performance of this music, and, no, to these ears the score doesn't gain from being sung by a few dozen more singers. On the contrary, bloated vocal forces often result in a less inflected, more homogenous quality in singing, unless the chorus is of the same calibre as Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir, of which few equals exist. Bach never once used the term "coro" in the manuscript to indicate the so-called "choral" movements, and one can only figure what that might have meant in terms of the forces JSB actually envisioned for this composition. Indeed, the mass in b was conceived firmly in the Baroque "spiritual concerto" tradition (since the times of Gabrieli's, Monteverdi and Schutz) which delights in various ways of combining solo voices or instruments to achieve changing textural or spatial effects.
Minkowski has realised all the above, and his interpretation is significantly more dramatic than most other minimalist performances on record. Apart from fabulous balances and textures, his interpretation paces through the movements so meticulously that it instills a strong sense of overall structure to music. This no doubt comes as a result of Minkowski's long experience as a conductor of baroque operas and dramatic works. Although lacking in an outward monumentality due to its relatively small performing forces, the present recording has struck me as among the most humane and luminously beautiful versions of Bach's masterpiece in vocal music.