The Missa de Spiritu Sancto
for upper voices was the result of a commission from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 2001. As Lithuania is a much more predominantly Catholic country, this Mass was clearly destined for liturgical as well as concert use. The Kyrie creates a timeless atmosphere imbued with elements of organum. The Gloria, by contrast, is suitably exuberant and here the choral writing is more homophonic. For the softer sections the melody moves in octaves with the other voices providing harmonic colour in the middle. This style of writing is exploited more in the Sanctus where the parallel octaves are part of six-part cluster chords. To this jubilant chant the organ provides an accompaniment akin to a peal of bells. The more reverential Agnus Dei utilizes a simple four-part harmonized melody as a refrain. Juxtaposed with this is a minimalist organ accompaniment. For the concluding ‘dona nobis pacem’ all the elements come together but slowly work outwards towards complete freedom of expression. The result is celebratory and yet, as in so many pieces, never conclusive.
from notes by Rupert Gough © 2009