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Track(s) taken from CDH55421

Short Mass

composer
1965
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor)
Recording details: February 2006
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2006
Total duration: 10 minutes 49 seconds

Cover artwork: Three Ladies Singing (detail) by Louis Welden Hawkins (1849-1910)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Kyrie  [2'09]
2
3
Sanctus  [1'25]
4
Benedictus  [1'32]
5
Agnus Dei  [2'37]

Other recordings available for download

Chichester Cathedral Choir, Alan Thurlow (conductor)
At Wishart’s suggestion, Burgon composed his first choral piece in 1964. Three Elegies was taken up by the BBC Chorus. This short unaccompanied work paved the way for a series of choral compositions bridging a four-decade span. Not long after the premiere of Three Elegies, Burgon’s friend David Gedge asked for a simple Mass setting for use by his choir at Brecon Cathedral. The Short Mass, completed in July 1965, captures something of the unaffected devotional spirit of Britten’s Missa brevis.

Burgon’s syllabic setting of the Latin Mass text, the work’s use of concordant harmonies and its largely homophonic texture were in tune with ideals established for church music during the Second Vatican Council and comparable trends within the Anglican Church during the early 1960s. The brief embellishments and alternating paired voice parts in the Agnus Dei, however, echo a long-distant English choral technique regularly employed in the late fifteenth century. The young composer here balances the demands of changing liturgical practices with the legacy of tradition, a neat achievement for a creative artist who later avowed a deep dislike for organized religion. His writing, especially in the brief yet highly charged Benedictus, manages to sound both timeless and strikingly modern, a condition common to much of Burgon’s substantial output of music for choir.

from notes by Andrew Stewart 2006

Other albums featuring this work

Burgon: Cathedral Music
CDA66123Archive Service
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