Weiland: Westmorland Mass OP. 56 (2016)



Weiland: Westmorland Mass Op. 56 (2016)

FE4042 Vocal Score Double Choir/a capella


An original setting of the mass, grown solidly out of the Anglican choral tradition, not new for the sake of new (avant-garde) but new as in written in a sound, classical manner, demanding for the musicians only in the sense that Mozart or Byrd is demanding, designed for a capable cathedral choir willing to devote no more and no less than a full quota of rehearsal time.

Set to the Latin text, this, his first full mass, was composed as if enveloping the days and weeks that were the passing of Helen Elliott, Douglas Weiland’s mother-in-law, wife of the late Canon Colin Elliott, Rural Dean of Windermere. The Agnus Dei, indeed was written at the ‘moment’ of her death. Each section of the mass has attached to it a specific Lake District location:

Ings (Kyrie), Grasmere (Gloria), Bowness-on-Windermere (Credo), Kentmere (Sanctus & Benedictus), Staveley (Agnus Dei).

Douglas has these comments to add.

“Allegiance to two fundamental principles throughout was inspired, not induced or contrived. The first being the subtle interplay between that of the text carrying the music and the music carrying the text (one can speculate throughout which is which, when); and second, that of the text transmitting direct, inspired musical imagery. An example of the latter: at the point disclosed where human history is (thus far) divided into two eras by the birth of Jesus Christ – here, mirroring the invasive nature of the phenomenon stated in the text, the tempo suddenly grinds down, and with it a rippled harmonic reaction, the bars becoming then even slower, broader… almost quietly crashing to a halt, and then a complete stop (a suspended fermata) at the words “And was made man” Another example is at the close of the Creed; the penultimate clause that refers to the acknowledging of “one Baptism”, and in the following clause “Ressurection of the dead”: transformed thematic material progresses sequentially ‘downwards’ to an unusual degree, at the former; rising right back upwards, further transformed, now more ethereal, at the latter.

Of course for a composer dealing with, frankly unfathomable words of yet profoundest universal significance, the privilege is unquantifiable. Conversely, the business and essence of the music is intensely personal, having therefore as much to do with ‘me’ as with anything else. As, no doubt, Montaigne might have put it…”

The title page bears the inscription:

Written for the Cathedrals and Colleges of England

Single copy £10

10 copy discount £70

20 copy discount £120

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