A New Mass Setting-In-Progress
I have been wanting to write this mass for about nine years–just after finishing Missa Brevis (F. 155). Due to the original mass’ structure, each movement was unique, influenced by a different period in choral music. For me, the last movement, the Agnus Dei, was the most touching–the focus was solely on harmonic progression in a homophonic context, and the harmony combined with the slow pacing was emotionally engaging. So much so, that I thought at the time “I should write another mass in this style,” and thus Missa Brevis No. 2 was born from that idea.
The defining characteristic of this mass is the dramatic use of harmony. There are many unexpected turns of harmony, always in the service of supporting the text, telling the story behind the mass, and setting the mood for this particular interpretation of the mass.
Of course, such ideas are easier conceived than realized. I started work on a Kyrie in 2017, which I finished in time for Radiance’s (then known as Vox16) call for scores, so the Kyrie has already been recorded and premiered, and I just finished a “video score” based on a second recording… Not a bad showing so far!
The mass is still a work-in-progress, which I will finish as time allows or once a suitable choir is interested in performing it. The Kyrie and the Agnus Dei are complete, and half of the Sanctus… only one and a half movements to go! But I should mention another complication: after finishing the Kyrie for this mass, I spontaneously wrote a second Kyrie (now part of Missa Cantus), so I’m actually working on two new mass settings simultaneously! When it rains, it pours, and one must follow that creative stream wherever it leads.
With three masses, it seemed appropriate to name each one descriptively, rather than just #1, #2, and #3:
Missa Brevis No. 1 => Missa Historiae (Missa Brevis No. 1)
Missa Brevis No. 2 => Missa Dramatica (Missa Brevis No. 2)
Missa Brevis No. 3 => Missa Cantus (Missa Brevis No. 3)
If you are interested in any of these mass settings, drop me a line–I’d love to talk with you! As this mass (and it’s sister, Missa Cantus) are still being written, I am actively seeking support to finish both of these works.
For now, however, I leave you with video score, where you can follow the score as the FM Singers perform the Kyrie for your enjoyment!