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An Obsession with the Mass

Like every composer, I write works for hire. I take a professional approach to these works, keeping my patron in mind, even as I look for the inspiration and instinct to create something fresh and original. And, like every composer, I have those works I write for myself, initiated by the odd idea, often coming from a desire to experiment and explore what for me is previously unexplored territory.

Lately, all of my self-stimulated random ideas for new works have been settings of the Latin Mass. All of my own ideas for the last six months seem to be focused on it. Why the Latin Mass? There are a few reasons. First, I know the texts intimately and feel them deeply. Second, they offer many possibilities for settings. Third, they are tied to choral music and ritual.

There is another mass in me to complete by the end of this calendar year. This will be a daring concert setting that will demand much of those who sing it, and will use a choir in ways not previously employed. I can clearly hear the piece in my head. I’m excited by what will emerge once the piece is “out there.”

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