Missa Brevis (TTBB Version)

for TTBB choir a cappella

Missa Brevis consists of seven short movements for TTBB chorus, a cappella. There is also an SATB version available here.

The term Missa Brevis translates as “short mass.” It is derived from the mass of the ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) but with some movements removed. Many composers from the renaissance to the modern era have composed settings of “short masses.” The nucleus of my setting, the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, is taken from the Missa XVII Adventus et Quadragesima (Mass for Advent and Lent). Each of these three movements includes an incipit (intoning chant) before each phrase mirroring the original chant. Regardless of differing performance practices, the diamond shaped notes of the incipits should be sung slightly faster than the round notes. All three movements contain changing meter but the measures have no written time signatures. This should help to visually create fluid chant-like phrases without always feeling a strong beat at the beginning of each measure.

The bookends of the mass, Rex, Requiem and The Chorister’s Prayer, are identical musically except for the Amen section of the latter. Both movements were composed in memory of a mentor and dear friend of mine, Dick Young. The text Rex, Requiem, originally titled Epitaphium Angilberti (The Epitaph of Angilbert), was written by Angilbert (c. 740-814) for his own headstone. I have substituted the name Angilberti for the Latin translation of Richard, Ricardus, to pay homage to my friend. Although this mass was not intended to be a requiem, the first movement lends itself to that genre. One can personalize the Rex, Requiem by replacing a different name as I did, or the movement can be omitted altogether.

The Anglican-chant style of Psalm 23 and the anthem, A Prayer of St. Benedict, compliment the overall ethos of the mass. All the movements are quiet reflective settings that can be sung individually but are best performed together. This Missa Brevis is suited well for a liturgical service and equally for a concert performance. The vocal lines are fluid, and the ranges are conservative making this an easily accessible work. Your choir will thoroughly enjoy singing this reverent setting.

SKU: MTN-043 Categories: , Instrumentation:
Instrumentation:A Cappella
Season or Event:Communion, Compline, Divine Liturgy, Evensong, Mass, Memorial/Funeral, Vespers
Descriptive Tags:Chant, Ethereal, Liturgical text, Psalm, Scriptural text, Worship
Difficulty:Intermediate
Language:Latin
Sacred or Secular:Sacred
Voicing:TTBB
Duration:1-5 Minutes

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For both options, there is a minimum required quantity of 8 copies for choral titles. Please support self-publishing composers by ordering the quantity according to the number of singers in the ensemble that will perform the work.

Print orders are printed on demand and shipped by our printing partner, and can be expected to be processed with a few days of the order. Please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] to follow up.

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