Modern Mass: Chanticleer Puts Stamp On Ancient Form

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, May 31, 2007


As a musical form, the Catholic Mass dates back centuries. Chanticleer updated this classic framework to deliver a timeless message. Chanticleer’s assistant music director, Matthew Oltman.

“Its intent is for music to transcend everything that’s going on in the world, to be a beacon of hope and of light.”


Chanticleer wanted a contemporary statement of spirituality, reflecting history, but also the complexity -- and the conflict -- of today’s world.
So the group recruited five composers, from different backgrounds. Each was assigned a section of the mass, to be written independently of the others. Some composers chose the traditional Latin.

Others worked with ancient Persian, Greek and Hebrew texts. Irish composer Michael McGlynn turned to Gaelic.


The mass also contains short choral segments from the 1500s, invoking statements of belief. The project became a kind of overarching “World View” Mass, which Oltman feels speaks directly to the present day.

“It’s so relevant to everything that’s going on every time you turn on the news. It’s relevant to peace, it’s relevant to getting along, it’s relative to understanding, it’s relative to believing that there’s something higher than us. And that music, perhaps, is one way of catching just a little glimpse of what that is, here on earth… on our war-torn, weary earth.”


The mass is the biggest project Chanticleer has undertaken in years, and this Sacramento performance comes barely two weeks after the New York premiere.

(music out)

The Chanticleer Mass will be performed on Sunday, June 3rd at 5 p.m. in St. Francis Church on 26th Street in Sacramento.