for mixed choir (SATB div) a cappella
Text: Latin (Mass)
Duration: c10 minutes
When setting out to write this Missa Brevis I was drawn first to the Sanctus and Benedictus, the words of which, for me, form the highlight of the Mass and I wanted to reserve the most sumptuous music for these. Unlike the sparser openings of the other movements, the Sanctus begins with the warm texture of the full choir, and through the gentle dissonances and soaring soprano line I attempt to convey something of the holiness and glory of God.
The Gloria offers an opportunity to include something more joyous and thus opens jubilantly with tenors and basses in unison and dances its way to the end in a lively setting of the text. The Mass opens with two short phrases sung by the upper voices in a sombre D minor. This is echoed at the opening of the final movement (where the phrases are rhythmically similar to those of the Kyrie) and thus I attempted to begin and end the work in an atmosphere of penitent sorrow which is so central to both texts with their pleas for mercy. The mood of the Agnus Dei changes as the key shifts to the major and the softness and serenity of the close reveals that through the Lamb of God we find the forgiveness and peace we have sought.
Becky was born in 1974 and grew up in Cornwall. She studied music at Royal Holloway, University of London, and after graduating, returned to Cornwall where she now leads a busy musical life as a composer, cellist, and piano and cello teacher. Becky developed a love of singing at an early age and her interest in sacred choral music grew during her time as a member of the Royal Holloway Chapel Choir. She now composes mainly choral music and draws much of her inspiration from her Christian faith. Her works, which include psalm settings, carols, and settings of other texts, biblical and secular, are written in a recognisable, engaging and personal style. Becky’s setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem In the bleak midwinter has become very widely performed following its premiere recording by Truro Cathedral Choir, broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and publication by Boosey & Hawkes. She has also written numerous songs for solo voice and works for string ensembles.