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Missa Brevis

for unaccompanied SATB

Year:  1963   ·  Duration:  15m
Instrumentation:  Sanctus is in 7 parts

Year:  1963
Duration:  15m
Instrumentation  Sanctus is in 7 parts

Films, Audio & Samples

Gillian Whitehead: Missa Br...

Embedded audio
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Sample Score

Sample: Page 1

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Whitehead has always had an affinity with the music of the sixteenth century, for three years she sang in Peter Godfrey's choir at St. Mary's Cathedral in Auckland, where the repertoire included Byrd's four part mass. This experience meant that the writing of this work came naturally. Written while studying in Wellington, the Mass is one of the first of her works that Gillian heard performed; the Victoria University choir conducted by Robert Oliver sang selected movements, while its first complete performance, in an otherwise 'all Bach' concert by the Leonine Consort in Sydney, was broadcast on television. The reviewer of this concert, Roger Covell, wrote 'Gillian Whitehead's Missa Brevis easily rose to the challenge of justifying its presence, (showing) rare understanding of how to write for concerted voices; everything she calculated on paper worked in practice in this tenderly beautiful performance'. (Programme note by Emma Carle and Jack Body).

Contents note

Kyrie, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei

Text note

Liturgical text

Performance history

23 Jun 2000: Performed by Sings Harry Vocal Ensemble

26 Jun 2011: Performed by the choir of St Paul's Cathedral with director Andrew Carwood as part of the opening concert of the 2011 City of London Festival, in London

08 Oct 2011: Performed by The Tudor Consort, Michael Stewart (conductor). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 8 October 2011

19 Sep 2018: Performed by Cantoris Choir (Thomas Nikora, conductor) at St Andrew's on the Terrace as part of the concert, “A Celebration of Women Composers”

Performed by the Auckland Dorian Choir, conducted by Peter Godfrey

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