“Gloria” of mass for people in danger
Ranging from architecture to celestial, the video album of Sarah Kirkland Snider Mass for people in danger invokes stained glass paintings, planetariums, atomic structures and kaleidoscopic mandalas, all connected by the natural world. The series of six animated films by an interdisciplinary visual artist Candy Stations (aka Deborah Johnson) each represent a movement of Mass through stunning hand-drawn and digitally manipulated content.
“Gloria” is the second movement Mass for people in danger, released by New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records in September 2020. Originally commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street, the album features the English vocal ensemble Gallicante driven by Gabriel crouching. The booklet of Nathaniel bellows combines traditional Latin texts with new material to create “a prayer for endangered animals and the endangered environments in which they live”.
Here’s what Sarah had to say about “Gloria:”
In most traditional contexts of the Catholic Mass, the Gloria movement is grand and festive, a homage to the Lord Jesus and his glory. But when I read the translation from Latin and imagined an endangered fauna in place of God and / or Jesus, the text actually struck me as tender and melancholy – especially its repetition of “you alone” , which has taken on new meaning in the context of species extinction. Instead of: “For you alone are holy, you alone are Lord, you alone are the Most High,” I imagined, “You are alone the Bengal tiger, you are alone the polar bear, you are alone the red wolf. “In other words, each species is unique and irreplaceable. I thought of the relationship between mother and child, the cycle of education that keeps the species alive, as well as that between Mother Earth and each living creature Imagining the text in this way led me to see the whole movement as an expression of deep affection for all wildlife and gratitude to Earth for its food and sustenance.
In addition to watching the video below, you can explore an interactive version on your computer (click and drag to reveal the hidden image).
You can buy the Mass for people in danger album here.
Previous videos in this series are available here:
About Sarah Kirkland Snider
Recently considered “one of the most gifted and promising modern classical composers of the decade” (Fork), “A potentially important voice in the American musical landscape” (David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Investigator), and “an important representative of 21 trends of the century in composition ”(Classic New York Review), composer Sarah Kirkland Snider writes music of direct expression and vivid storytelling that has been hailed as “ecstasy” (The New York Times), “Innovator” (The Boston Globe), and “poignant, deeply personal” (The New Yorker). With an ear for poetics and architecture, Snider’s music draws on a variety of influences to render a nuanced mastery of storytelling immersive. From his cycle of orchestral songs, Penelope, Fork‘s Jayson Greene proclaimed, “Snider’s music lives in… an increasingly populous intergender space that, so far, has produced only a few clear, confident vocals. Snider is perhaps the most sophisticated of all.
Snider’s works were commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Saint-Paul chamber orchestra; the Residence Orkest Den Haag, Aarhus Symfoniorkester, Britten Sinfonia, and National Arts Center Orchestra; violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, percussionist Colin Currie, and singer Shara Nova (formerly Worden); eighth blackbird, A cry away, Ensemble signal, The Knights, and yMusic; Full of teeth, Cantus, and Wall Street Trinity Choir; and many more. Conductors who have championed his work include Andreas Delfs, David Danzmayr, André de Ridder, Giancarlo Guerrero, Ryan mcadams, Rossen Milanov, Edwin Outwater, and Leonard Slatkin. His music has been heard in concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Elbphilharmonie, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Wigmore Room; and in festivals like Big ears, BAM Next Wave, Aspen, Ecstatic, Colorado, Cross-linx, Sundance, BAM’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Bang on a summer can, Liquid music, 21C Liederabend, New York Song Festival, Podium (Germany), Oranjewoud (Holland), and Apples & Olives (Switzerland). Penelope, his acclaimed song cycle inspired by The odyssey on text of Ellen mclaughlin, has been played over fifty times in North America and Europe.
About Deborah Johnson
Deborah Johnson, aka CandyStations is an interdisciplinary artist and designer, specializing in scenography and performance visuals. She has worked with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, M83, Sofi Tukker, St. Vincent, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Annie B. Parson, Ray LaMontagne, Bang On A Can and Wilco, with performances at Coachella, Disney Concert Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Museum of Modern Art, MASS MoCA, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Fillmore, The Ryman and Wiener Konzerthaus. Johnson has created site-specific performances and installations at SXSW, Sundance, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 92Y Tribeca, MoMA, Chicago’s Millennium Park and the Baltimore Museum of Art, and has completed residencies at MASS MoCA, The Experimental Television Center and The Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Working as CandyStations, Johnson celebrates the collaborative nature of live performance, accessing a diverse network of like-minded manufacturers, lighting designers, artists and programmers to create transcendent and responsive experiences by merging digital and hand-made processes. There is everything from lines of code to piles of charcoal in this studio. Her motto is: “If it works, she uses it, there are no rules.
I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorial independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded by generous donors and institutional support. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.