Wednesday, 21 April 2010

New setting of Missa de Angelis

Roxanna Panufnik has composed a new setting based on the Missa de Angelis, with her own distinctive harmonisation. The work will be premiered by the Schola of the London Oratory School with Lee Ward as Director and David Terry playing the organ. The setting is accompanied by a brass octet which includes a piccolo trumpet doubled by the principal player.

Here is an extract from the press information giving some details of the musical characteristics of the setting:
As with many of Roxanna Panufnik’s works she brings the text to life vividly in her own harmonic voice. Abounding are echo effects, vocal and instrumental portamenti, uneven groupings of notes, juxtapositioning of major and minor triads and regularly shifting metre. All combine to give the piece an ethereal quality with translucent, shimmering effects at times (the piccolo trumpet in the final Kyrie, for example extends the full unison choral texture with heavy lower brass to create an unusual warmth and celestial feel, echoing perhaps the glorious flight of the angels). There are moments of great excitement, particularly in the Gloria, where the brass’s continuous staccato quavers accompany a legato and bluesy choir, culminating in cross beat rhythmical ‘bell-like’ effects as it reaches a huge climax. The blues effect also comes into play in the Sanctus and Agnus dei, which are perhaps the most approachable movements technically.
There is also a simplified version of the setting for use in parishes.

The premiere will be held at St James's Spanish Place on Friday 7 May at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from See Tickets. I'm rather disappointed that I can't go to this because I have duties in the parish that evening. I look forward to hearing this Mass setting at Mass one day.
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