for mixed voices (SATB div) & piano with optional jazz ensemble
Text: Latin (Christian Mass)
Duration: c13 minutes
Use: Concert or Liturgical
Will Todd’s Jazz Missa Brevis gives new life to the sung Latin Mass texts in an accessible, short setting which embraces a variety of jazz styles, from the swinging jazz waltz Kyrie to the up-beat Latin-groove Gloria. The smooth jazz ballad Sanctus, 7/8 Benedictus and soulful Agnus Dei complete this inspiring Mass setting. Underpinned by Todd’s characteristic jazz harmonies and melodic craftsmanship, it is suitable for performance both liturgically and as part of a concert by mixed choirs of all abilities. The work can be accompanied by piano alone (as written or extemporised), jazz trio (piano, bass and drums) or jazz ensemble (alto saxophone, 2 trumpets and jazz trio – parts available separately). Extra music for optional use when Jazz Missa Brevis is performed liturgically can be purchased here.
In writing Jazz Missa Brevis for Portsmouth Cathedral Choir, I have aimed to create simple and lasting music that will work equally well in liturgy or in concert. Drawing on my own piano playing style, all of the movements began life as extended improvisations which I then honed and developed into the completed movements. I hope this ensures that there is a genuine jazz ‘heart’ to each of the sections. In the same way that I would in a jazz gig, I’ve made sure there is a contrast of rhythmic feels between the movements. I hope singers, musicians and conductors will enjoy performing this piece as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Will Todd is a UK-based performer and composer whose music spans a variety of styles and genres. Best known for his choral works, he has worked closely with choirs such as The Sixteen and Tenebrae, and his 2003 jazz mass setting Mass in Blue has been performed extensively since its premiere by choirs in the UK, Europe and the USA. Other notable works for choir range from large scale oratorios such as Saint Cuthbert (recorded by the Hallé Orchestra in 2002) to the anthem The Lord is my shepherd, available for both upper and mixed voices with piano or orchestral accompaniment. He has worked on operas and stageworks, most notably in collaboration with Opera Holland Park for whom he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 2013. A clarinet concerto, written for Emma Johnson, has been performed in the UK, USA and Finland and recorded and broadcast by the BBC Concert Orchestra. As a performer, Will leads his own Will Todd Trio from the piano and regularly directs choir workshops and performances.