This new recording from Westminster Cathedral presents two of the most important new Mass settings of recent times. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, recently confirmed by Buckingham Palace as the new Master of The Queen’s Music, has throughout his long composing career contributed several miniature sacred choral pieces to the repertory, but these new works represent his first foray into the heart of the liturgy. The Mass for full choir and two organs is based on two plainchants for Whitsun, and is very much a contemporary successor to those great works of the Renaissance with which this choir has cemented so enviable a reputation around the world. Missa parvula, by contrast, is in the mould of Britten’s Missa brevis and is for unison upper voices. Upfront simplicity recalls the world of Duruflé, even of Solesmes, and we are reminded of Maxwell Davies’ long commitment to composing music suitable for children. Both Masses were composed for, and first performed by, The Choir of Westminster Cathedral.
Also included on this disc are the Two Latin Motets, ‘Dum complerentur’ and ‘Veni Sancte Spiritus’, composed to form part of the celebrations for Maxwell Davies’ seventieth birthday in 2004, and two extraordinary organ works again based on plainchant themes.