Will Todd: Mass in Blue – musicalpointers.co.uk
From the moment Gounod published the big beat Credo of his Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile the affinity between the cadences of the latin mass and modern rhythmic music became apparent.
With his Mass in Blue Will Todd seizes these opportunities with gusto in a work of considerable depth and complexity.
The introduction to the Kyrie, for piano and orchestra, is overtly reminiscent of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with just a hint of Scott Joplin, but soon the perspective opens up to display a myriad of influences.
The Gloria has a simple plainchant opening before the voice of the soprano soloist floats apparently effortlessly above the ensemble. Todd writes with bold simplicity for the choir, and has the confidence to introduce some highly original harmonies and tempi.
Nonetheless, he adheres faithfully to the spirit of the Tridentine Mass and the clarity of words from both choir and soloist is exemplary. The work builds up to an extended Agnus Dei and a deeply satisfying conclusion.