For unaccompanied mixed choir
This Gloria setting was influenced by two things in particular: the Orbis Factor Gloria chant, which holds a special place in my heart because for some reason it is the only Gloria chant, that I really like; and the idea of jubilation but utilising a different sound than the "glorious chords" usually preferred in this for this type of text.
Many of the best and most famous Gloria settings have a wonderful sense of glamour and tend to show their jubilation through a strong emphasis on radiant chords and typically regal sounds, such as processions or almost military-like marches. I wanted to explore the idea of jubilation and celebration through a mixture of ideas. One of these was the idea of constant movement. The opening motif, a grace-note attached to a dotted rhythm that creates ripples on a strongly held pedal note, serves to transform what might seem like a trumpet-like call to worship into something hectic with almost ceaseless energy. This energy runs through most of the work, whether literally through the transformation of this motif into a textural accompaniment or through its later expansion into a broader form. The idea of freedom and energy is also explored in the middle, slower section, where the energy of the voices is released to create a cloud of free voices to accompany the main melody in their more regulated praise.
Underlying the whole work is the plainchant from the Orbis Factor Gloria. The sound of the Orbis Factor chant corresponds to some of the points made above: a gloria plainchant that is in the hypodorian mode, a minor mode. This sound gives a somewhat weightier and more imposing meaning to the text, which is of course one of praise and exultation. At that time of the chants composition, of course, our modern notions of "major" and "minor", which are associated with more joyful or sad feelings, were not yet common, but the Dorian mode was preferred by many because it has a strong and serious sound. This corresponded to my ideas of how I wanted to present the text: not overdone and especially not saccharine. In addition, I used a quasi-cantus firmus style in several places in the work, exploring a technique that used to be very common but has largely disappeared from the contemporary choral tradition.
This piece was commissioned by Clara Wolters and ATLAS Vokalensemble as part of their Founding Concert and was premiered on September 15th 2023.