I’m working on a new large multi-movement choral work loosely using the Vespers framework. I initially envisioned the work as a companion piece to Fauré’s Requiem, which has a running time of 20 minutes, or so (so it is paired with other works when it is performed to make a full concert length).
Musical ‘Vespers’, like those by Monteverdi, Mozart, and Vivaldi, usually are made up of the psalms and hymns in the Vespers liturgy (a church service that takes place at sunset), and, like the Mass or the Reqiuem, would be entirely in Latin. Those songs traditionally include the Magnificat, Mary’s annunciation song.
My ‘Vespers’ will be a mix of sacred and secular. While it will include some bits of the traditional Latin psalms and hymns (including the Magnificat), it will also include songs in English, centered around the theme of night—some of the emotions and thoughts that nighttime can bring. I want to write a piece that is beautiful to listen to, like Fauré’s Requiem.
I am referencing or reworking other great classical works into many of the pieces. For instance, in one of the more direct references, I’ve done a reworking of Purcell’s ‘An Evening Hymn’ for choir and bassoon obbligato. Other references are more obscured—in the background at one point I quote Dvořák’s famous aria ‘Hymn to the Moon’ in the piece about loving the moon (‘Selenophilia’).
In traditional Vespers, each hymn or psalm ends with the Gloria Patri (‘Glory be to the Father, and to the Son…’), so I am using variations on the same thematic material for each Gloria Patri. I am also going to write a full-length Gloria Patri where I fully explore that thematic material, maybe as the last time the Gloria Patri is sung, like a final reveal of where all the other Gloria Patri musical material came from.
As I finish pieces I will post them on my portfolio – although I will probably keep tweaking them. These are the ones I have so far: