This work, written over a seven year period, started life in 2009 as an introit for Wells Cathedral (Sanctus II, commissioned by Matthew Owens). The Gloria and Agnus Dei followed in 2009 by way of a commission from a children’s choir in Indonesia, evidence of which may be perceived in some of the work’s Eastern harmonic overtones. The remaining portions of the Mass (Kyrie and Benedictus) were composed in 2015, and the work was premiered in its complete form by the Girl and Boy Choristers of Wells Cathedral in 2016, again, and fittingly, under the direction of Matthews Owens, from whose suggestion the kernel of the work first came into being.
The tempi indications should be taken as a guide, and may be varied according to ability and performance context. In keeping with the work’s gestation over a number of years and for a variety of contexts, individual movements may be performed separately if desired (in this regard, Sanctus I and II are presented as alternatives settings, although Sanctus II may optionally, and will ideally, follow on from Sanctus I, with a short breath between each). This work was composed for both liturgical and concert use.
Joseph Phibbs was born in London and studied at The Purcell School, King’s College London, and Cornell University. His teachers have included Param Vir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Steven Stucky and his works have been performed by leading ensembles and orchestras including the London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra (Last Night of the Proms), Belcea Quartet, and London Symphony Orchestra. His orchestral work Rivers to the Sea
, written for the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, won a 2013 British Composer Award, and Partita
(a joint BBC/Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission) was premiered in 2016 at Barbican Centre (London) by BBC SO under Sakari Oramo. His music is broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, and is featured at festivals in the UK and beyond, including Cheltenham, Bath, Aldeburgh, Three Choirs, and Presteigne. He has composed much for choir, including Rainland
(2006), Gaudeamus omnes
(2009), Salve Regina
(2010), Shadows of Sleep
(2010) and Choral Songs of Homage
(2013). A Missa Brevis
for upper voices (SSA) was premiered in 2016 at Wells Cathedral, under the direction of Matthew Owens. Future commissions include a clarinet concerto for Mark van de Wiel and the Philharmonia Orchestra (2017), and a string quartet for the Belcea Quartet (2018). Joseph Phibbs is now published exclusively by Ricordi London, a Universal Music Publishing Classical company.