Working on a New Piece

I hope my "Gloria" sounds something like this. Caligraphy by Friedrich Peter.

It’s been a while. School is getting super busy as we’re approaching the end of the semester, so I’ve been focusing on other things. In spite of the great “winding” down, I’ve been able to start working on a new piece. I’m working on a new setting of the old liturgical text “Gloria.”  I’ve always found this text compelling (as with the other texts associated with the mass), and felt that for some reason a new setting would be fun to write.  It’s helping me to write something fast and (relatively) light.  I’ve been writing surprisingly fast (for my pace), which I usually find to be a good thing (“Midnight Clear” anyone?).

I have, however, decided to use only portions of the text for this specific setting.  It’s a wonderful text in it’s entirety but sometimes can get a little “wordy” (which happens to be the main reason I don’t set the “Credo” to music).  Here are the selected words I’m using:

Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
Laudámus te,
benedícimus te,
adorámus te,
glorificámus te,

grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
Miserére nobis.

Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu
solus Altíssimus,
Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíritu: in glória Dei


Glory be to God on high.
And in earth peace towards men of good will.
We praise thee.
We bless thee.
We worship thee.
We glorify thee.

We give thanks to thee for thy great glory.
Have mercy upon us.

For thou only art Holy. Thou only art the Lord.
Thou only, art Most High
O Jesus Christ, with the Holy Ghost, in the glory
of God the Father.

We’ll see how it works out.  I’m setting it with an unusual voicing: SSATBB, six voices.  We’ve been doing some pieces in BYU Singers with this specific voicing and a lot of Renaissance composers used it for many of their pieces.  I find this particular voicing to have a very strong, and intriguing color about it.  It’s limiting, yes, being constrained to six voices, but the timbre possibilities are plentiful.  It’s such a dynamic and flexible voicing that any limitations are outweighed by the benefits.  Besides, it’s good to work with limitations sometimes, it forces you to be creative in other ways.  Other times, it’s just plain annoying.

Oh, here’s the first page.  Surprise!

Yeah, it’s rough.  This will look different later.  Revisions are inevitable.

P.S. This week I learned how to sing Anglican Chant!


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