Sunday, November 24, 2013

"A Little Jazz Mass", by Bob Chilcott: the world's shortest?

The “Chancel Choir and Friends” of the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA today performed the 13-minute work “A Little Jazz Mass” by Bob Chilcott, with choir, piano, and bass, and percussion.

As shown above, there are some other performances on YouTube. 
The work is marginally in E Minor, and seems more daring in the first two movements (of five: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei) than later, where it becomes a bit French and impressionistic and a bit like Gershwin, maybe some of the harmonic styles of the Piano Concerto (previously discussed here). The Gloria was quite lively indeed.  This is happy stuff, not the jazz of Alan Berg and Lulu, for example.
  
The choir also performed a choir setting of “Ride On King Jesus” by Moses Hogan (pretty much in the style of the 1982 film “Say Amen, Somebody”)
  
There was a prelude with a choral jazz rendition of “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” by Brad Nix.  It was much more daring, “modern”, and improvisatory in effect.
   

For the Postlude, Carol Feather Martin (who tells me she studied at Oberlin College, near where I spent my boyhood summers) played “Swing Five on ‘Erhalt uns, Herr’” by Johann Matthias Michel. The work sounded sharp on the small pipe organ here;  I wondered how it would sound on the Austin organ “downtown”.  

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