MISSA GAIA: MASS FOR THE EARTH


Movements:
I. Introit: Within the Circles of Our Lives II. Kyrie: Mother, Sister, Blessed, Honored III. Gloria: Pied Beauty IV. Credo: Speak to the Earth and It Shall Teach Thee V. Benediction: Eagle Poem

Instrumentation:
Soprano solo SATB chorus SSA chorus (opt.) String quartet Oboe 4-Hand Piano Percussion: Bass drum - high and low Maracas Marimba Orchestra bells Suspended cymbal Temple blocks Triangle - medium Vibraphone Woodblock - medium

Text: The Bible, Joy Harjo and Maurice Kenny, Meister Eckhart, Chinook Psalter, M.K. Dean, Wendell Berry and Gerard Manley Hopkins

Duration: 35 minutes

Premiere:
Introit: Within the Circles of Our Lives premiered by the Paul Hill Washington Singers at the Kennedy Center, May 13, 1992. Gloria: Pied Beauty premiered by the combined choirs the University Lutheran Church of Hope, University Baptist Church, and First Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 26, 1992. Credo: Speak to the Earth and It Shall Teach Thee premiered by Waldorf College Choir and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, November 4,1991, Forest City, Iowa, Peter Bay, conductor. The entire Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth premiered by Schola Cantorum, Gregory Wait, director, Palo Alto, California, May 30, 1992.

Available From:
ECS Publishing, distributed by Canticle Distributing and ECS Publishing (rental)

Composer's Notes:
Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth is a creed for our times. The form and spirit of the traditional Mass combines with words that speak of human beings' relationship to the Earth. The texts are drawn from the Bible, from Native American poets Joy Harjo and Maurice Kenny, from medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, from the Chinook Psalter and from poets M.K. Dean, Wendell Berry and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The theme of circles permeates the entire work. The music uses the circle of fifths both as a melodic theme and as an instrumental motive. Although I have not asked the oboe to do so in this work, the oboist is one of the few instrumentalists who can breathe circularly. The string quartet traditionally sits in a semi-circle. The image of the circle is central to many of the texts of this work.

The United States of America is not an old country. Most of us are really still pioneers. We are only now learning what it is to live on this land and conversely, what it is for the land to let us live here. Amidst the natural abundance of our country, I live with the blizzards and tornadoes of the Midwest. And I see the earthquakes of the West Coast, the hurricanes of the South and East Coast, and the arid lands of the Southwest. I am reminded again and again that the human notion of dominion over nature is only that, a notion.

The truth is that the Earth lets us live with it. Native American Maurice Kenny's poem "They tell me I am lost" is a profound expression of unity and community. The poem, combined texts are drawn from the Bible and from medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, is a credo for those of us who wish to take care of the planet.
 
To purchase the piano/vocal score or rent the full score and parts, please visit ECS Publishing.
Additional Information:
Recording available: MISSA GAIA: MASS FOR THE EARTH Oregon Repertory Singers Koch International Classics 3-7279-2HI