A review of music written using Latin texts in service of the liturgy of the Catholic Church encompassing music written in all periods with a concentration on contemporary composers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mawby Premiere

Colin Mawby's Missa Cor ad cor loquitur (SATB/org.) receives it's first 'outing' at the Oxford Oratory this weekend (OF 1030) at the beginning of the Forty Hours Devotion. Mawby's track record for contributions to the Latin repertoire is long standing. His principal choral  publisher, Butz Musikverlag, provides a listing of his works and images of the example pages of many scores. Technically the new work is a Missa Brevis, there is no setting of the Credo (at least in the score I've seen). The individual movements, noticeably within the setting of the Gloria, are sectionalised more in the tradition of larger Mass settings. The harmonic language is extended traditional harmony with his trademark enharmonic changes. Thematically there is a unity with the 'symphonic' development of alternating 3rds and 4ths throughout the thematic material and reflected in the harmonic structure. A more 'explicit' sharing of material exists between the Kyrie and the opening of the Agnus Dei. The organ writing is idiomatic, and should show off the instrument at S. Aloysius', however on first viewing of the score it was very tempting to imagine what orchestration Mawby might have had in mind. The choral writing certainly provides some challenges, divisi occurring in all parts, but looks very effective as you would expect from this composer.

This new work, taking it's title from and in honour of Blessed John Henry Newman, has been commissioned by Edward de Rivera for the Oxford Oratory. This choir and director have a long tradition and reputation for promoting music of the 'more recent' Latin repertoire.

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