Mass in E Minor – “Mass of the Divine Song”
Our May 18 concert which was to premiere this piece has been canceled, or postponed.
Below and on the next several web pages are some discussions of the ideas that helped me write this mass.
1. Kyrie – In our deep, secret, private thoughts, we call for help. Most times, we give this call as quiet or serene. But for this setting what is wanted is to represent the same prayer, but with a profoundly pleading intensity.
2. Gloria – In our stillness, we hear the angels’ Divine Song which comforts us and prepares us for God’s help.
3. Credo – SATB soloists only. The angels (soloists) remind us of the immediate efficacy of our interconnected (overlapping vocal lines) beliefs.
4. Sanctus – We begin to be receptive to the power of God. He answers our misgivings.
5. Pater noster – Solo. We give thanks for the divine blessings we have received and vow to keep them uppermost in our thoughts as we prepare to go out and face our problems.
6. Agnus Dei – We leave our seclusion to take our inspired upliftment into our troubled world.
7. Dominus vobiscum – If we are mindful, the peace and power of the Divine Song stays with us, to help us remain calm even in the midst of troubles.
Here are some notes. More will be found on each movement’s page.
“Mass” is the name for the Catholic Church service celebrated daily around the world. Several prayers are recited at all masses. When a composer sets these common prayers to music, that setting is also called a “Mass.” Some masses are set music to be used during a mass, the church service, while others are set purely for concert purposes. These help set the proper mood for each part of the service.
The present “Mass in E Minor” by Kevin Weed was written to be a concert work. This new dramatic music gives the listener a chance to re-examine the words that are recited every week, or every day, and contemplate their meanings in a particular, and perhaps in a new light.
Latin is used for several reasons. It has been the universal language of the church for about 1600 years. Translations are abundantly available from Latin into every language. Many Catholics know the Latin prayers and their meanings very well. Many love to attend masses said and sung in Latin, and many prefer Latin to their native tongue for the mass. Singers seem to universally love singing in Latin, perhaps partly from its antiquity and mystery, but mostly because it is easy to sing beautifully.
The audience member will benefit from a study of these Latin prayers and their translations. Each word is set to appropriate music. When you know what is being said, the music will make sense. The Latin and English translation of the parts of the mass used in this composition have been provided in a PDF file on this page.
In particular, the Credo, (the creed, “I believe”) as it is set in the present Mass may be troublesome to the listener, even for Catholics that know the Latin.
Three parts describe 1) God, 2) Jesus, and 3) The Holy Spirit. In the present work these parts are not sung in order, as you would memorize the prayer, instead these three parts overlap each other. This highlights some of the correlations among the three persons.
From Kevin Weed:
The music I composed for this Mass follows a story. The narrative follows the order of the movements of the composition, and will give the reader/listener an idea of what I was thinking about when writing it. It tells why the Kyrie is so loud and the Gloria starts and ends so softly. Why the words of the Credo are all mixed up, and why the Pater noster is set as a solo. And if a strong heroic Dona nobis pacem seems out of character, read on. I don’t know if this story telling approach to a mass is normal or unique, but every composition is an experiment, and I enjoyed working out this piece in this way.
Something has gone terribly wrong in your life. Perhaps a family tragedy, a misunderstanding, or a business error in a department you supervise, which makes you responsible. You feel terrible but don’t know how to make things right. Others have been seriously hurt. Was it your fault? Some seem to think so. You recall hearing of others giving into anger or despair in such a situation; trying to pin the blame on someone else, or giving up or becoming self-destructive. But you are more determined than ever to make things right, take responsibility and see that no one else is hurt.