An American Mass (2013-Present)

Mixed Chorus

Texts by A. R. Ammons, John Ashbery, William Bronk, Hart Crane, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Vicki Hearne, Ronald Johnson, Marianne Moore, and May Swenson

Total duration ca. 41'

Multiple-movement work

"An American Mass" is a series of choral settings of modern American poetry that examine transcendent themes through a secular lens. The texts that I set in these choral compositions deal with questions of how humans relate to one another, how we see the world around us, how eternal an instant can feel, the joy of sensual pleasure, the desire for things to be what they seem, the desire and frustration for the betterment of our own human nature. An ongoing project, "An American Mass" was originally intended to be a ten movement work. It is really more of a choral songbook or collection of pieces, which can be performed individually, grouped into suites, or performed altogether, and as time passes the "Mass" will no doubt continue to grow as well. A work that is attempting to increase the repertoire of spiritual but secular choral music, "An American Mass" subscribes to no dogma, hence the freedom with the way the movements can be programmed or grouped.

The works:

A Name For All (2017), text Hart Crane (SATB)

THIS (2017), text by A. R. Ammons (SATB)

The Weight Of The World Is Love (2017), text by Allen Ginsberg (SSATBB)

The Answer (2016), text by Robert Creeley (SATB)

The Tree That Plucks Fruit (2015), text by Vicki Hearne (SATB)

Midsummer (2015), text by William Bronk (SATB)

By Disposition of Angels (2014), text by Marianne Moore (SATB)

The Core (2013), text by Ronald Johnson (SATB)

I Will Be Earth (2013), text by May Swenson (SATB)

Just Walking Around (2013), text by John Ashbery (SATB)

To date, two suites have been formed out of the work:

Light and Mystery (available on "New Choral Voices, Vol. 1" by Ablaze Records)

1. Just Walking Around, text by John Ashbery 

2. I Will Be Earth, text by May Swenson

3. The Core, text by Ronald Johnson

Beyond All Change (available on "New Choral Voices, Vol. 2" by Ablaze Records)

1. By Disposition of Angels, text by Marianne Moore

2. The Tree That Plucks Fruit, text by Vicki Hearne

3. Midsummer, text by William Bronk

Listen to music from "An American Mass" on Spotify,

performed by J. David Moore & the First Readings Project and Brett King & Coro Volante