A pretty thing

In adherence to my Lichtenbergian oath (did we ever come up with one of those?), I have been avoiding working on the cello sonata since I got the first third written earlier, and today I decided to look through some of my older music files. I came across the Mass in C.

This is something I don’t think any of you have ever heard. I wrote this probably more than 20 years ago, and I know we had one readthrough at First Baptist one afternoon, and I think I remember that Denise Johnson and Julie Aagesen sang the solos in the piece I’m sharing. Other than that, it’s never been performed.

Nonetheless, I opened some of the files this afternoon and discovered that they still held up. They’re very simple harmonically (I toyed with subtitling it Missa simplex, but that was kind of icky so I stopped), and I may have to revisit the entire work at some point. There are some clumsy bits that I know enough now to fix.

The Benedictus in particular is quite lovely. Score [pdf] | mp3

Enjoy. Disclaimer: the file was sucked up into Finale 2010 from a very old file, and none of the dynamics or tenuti or anything subtle came with the notes. It’s pretty raw. Try to hear it under lights.

(I’m also avoiding the Welcome Christmas Carol Contest deadline, August 8, a setting of some text for men’s chorus and English horn. Someone should write me a text. I’m thinking an elfin kind of piece, sort of playing against the stereotypically lugubrious nature of the instrument. In fact, now that I’m writing this, I remember that I had in mind an idea for a kind of ballad to one’s beloved that involved the Yule. I knew I should have written down those fragments. Garn.)

5 thoughts on “A pretty thing

  1. There are some clunkers in there, for sure, in voicing and voice leading in the accompaniment. Meh. I can fix those in another fit of avoidance. Some day.

  2. Christmas morning
    A little past eight
    Something smoking
    In the fiery grate
    A bit of log left
    To incinerate

    Why not give it a puff or two
    Just blow on the coals
    What may ensue
    Might turn holiday red
    What was holiday blue

    And I think
    You’ll do
    I may have had doubts before
    But last night left me wanting more
    Don’t think of it as a chore
    Just something we might explore

    You’ll do
    You’ll do
    No need to lie about a lunch at two
    No need to run away

    On this festive day
    Why not stay and play

    Darling, no dreams are coming true
    But yule do

  3. Thanks. It should sound like it’s coming through a scratchy gramophone, naturally. Horn players can do that with spit. Singers can, too, now that I think about it.

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