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Kyrie : SSAATTBB choir

by Clare Maclean (2006)

Audio Sample

Performance by Sydney Chamber Choir, Paul Stanhope from the CD Jo-wha = Oneness.

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Jo-wha = Oneness.


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Jo-wha = Oneness.

Library shelf no. CD 1626 [Available for loan]



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Kyrie : SSAATTBB choir / music by Clare Maclean.

Library shelf no. 782.28/MAC 3 [Not for loan]

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Work Overview

Kyrie is the first movement of a Mass for unaccompanied choir. It uses fragments and phrases of the plainsong of Kyrie No. 9 in the Liber Usualis, and of the Jewish melody, Kol Nidrei. This melody dates from the sixteenth century, and there a number of different versions; I use a phrase from the Lewandowski version of 1871, and parts of a hypothetical 'original' version, without embellishments, posited by Werner (Groves Dictionary of Music).
The plainsong is in D Aeolian mode, and the Kol Nidrei fragments are in a minor mode, with tonics B and G. These scales, along with the use of the Jewish mode ahavah rabbah on F# (with an augmented 2nd between scale degrees 2 and 3), are used to shape the tonality of the piece.
The Kol Nidrei melody sets the Annulment of Vows, which is prayed at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The text of this prayer deals with human fallibility - it is wrong to make vows, because we are not capable of keeping them - and the expectation of divine mercy. In this it is related in spirit to the text of the Kyrie eleison, which is also similar to the Hoshanos prayer, "Save now - for your sake, our God!"

Work Details

Year: 2006

Instrumentation: SSAATTBB choir.

Duration: 4 min.

First performance: by Sydney Chamber Choir — 29 Apr 06. Intercultural Concert of the 2006 Aurora Festival, Parramatta NSW

First movement of a mass for unaccompanied choir.


Performances of this work

29 Apr 06: Intercultural Concert of the 2006 Aurora Festival, Parramatta NSW. Featuring Sydney Chamber Choir.

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