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Work

Mass of the Dreaming : Missa Alchera

by Ross Edwards (2009)

Also known as: Missa Alchera

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Brisbane Chamber Choir, Graeme Morton from the CD Mass of the Dreaming

Mass of the Dreaming

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Score

Mass of the Dreaming : Missa Alchera, for SATB chorus / Ross Edwards

Library shelf no. 782.323/EDW 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

When Graeme Morton offered me a commission to compose a Latin mass he expressed the hope that it would contain elements making it identifiably Australian. This specification I found particularly appealing: I'd long been infusing Latin and other texts I set to music with rhythms and drones of Australia in such works as Flower Songs (1986) and Mountain Chant (2004). The commission was also intended to mark the 150th anniversaries of the state of Queensland and the Anglican and Catholic Dioceses of Brisbane, as well as the completion of the neo-Gothic St. John's Cathedral.

I think the Dreaming (Alchera) of Aboriginal peoples is like our Eternity, where time is omnipresent rather than linear. It is also inextricably associated with the land - the Earth Mother - at the deepest creative level, and I believe that rituals that have been imported from other places are most likely to retain their potency and relevance when they develop a similar connection.

I also believe that those rituals capable of suspending our self-consciousness and promoting awareness of the mystery of the here and now are essential to the wellbeing of both individuals and society. To this end I had intended to make my mass as much a contemplation as a celebration. Composing it during a time of fire and flood, however, often provoked an emotional response to the drama inherent in the text, so that outbursts of intensity are apt to intrude on moments of serene detachment. Listeners may detect shapes and patterns that recall natural voices of the environment as well as various kinds of chant, both liturgical and Aboriginal. I think Missa Alchera may be said to be ecumenical in the broadest sense.

Ross Edwards.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: SATB chorus (8 parts).

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by St John's Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, St Stephen's Catholic Cathedral, Brisbane with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by Brisbane Chamber Choir, Schola of the Cathedral of St Stephen at Missa Alchera (St John's Cathedral, Brisbane) on 31 May 2009

Subjects

Performances of this work

1 Oct 2016: at Nelson Mass & Missa Alchera (City Recital Hall Angel Place). Featuring Richard Gill, Sydney Chamber Choir.

5 Oct 2014: at Brisbane Chamber Choir (Christ Church Cathedral (Newcastle NSW)). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir.

3 Oct 2014: at Brisbane Chamber Choir (Wesley Music Centre). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir.

13 Oct 2013: at Aussie Gold (Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir.

4 Aug 2013: at BCCMF: In Paradisum (St John's Cathedral, Brisbane). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir.

22 May 2010: at The Wellspring (Fitter's Workshop). Featuring Song Company.

11 Nov 2009: at In Memoriam (St John's Cathedral, Brisbane). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir.

20 Sep 2009: at Ross Edwards: Missa alchera (Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane). Featuring Schola of the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane Chamber Choir.

31 May 2009: at Missa Alchera (St John's Cathedral, Brisbane). Featuring Brisbane Chamber Choir, Schola of the Cathedral of St Stephen.

31 May 2009: at Missa Alchera (Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane). Featuring Schola of the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane Chamber Choir.

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