First new setting of plainsong Mass for fifty years

Roxanna Panufnik

Roxanna Panufnik

A new setting of a plainsong Mass is a rarity. The first such setting of note for nearly 50 years, entitled Schola Missa de Angelis, is due for its World Premiere on 7 May at St James’s, Spanish Place.

Commissioned by the Schola of the London Oratory School who will give the first performance, Schola Missa de Angelis is a twenty minute work for choir and brass octet by Roxanna Panufnik. It is based on the original plainsong Mass  – the Missa de Angelis – which has been in use in the Catholic Church for centuries.

“It’s a major liturgical music milestone,” said Lee Ward, who, as Musical Director of the Schola, first proposed the commission to Roxanna Panufnik. “The composer has retained the plainsong melodies from the original ninth century Mass,” says Ward, “ bringing the text vividly to life with her own distinctive harmonic palette, skilfully accompanied by a brass octet.”

“The work is being produced in two versions,” said Ward, “one of which is simplified for use in Catholic parishes, so it is sure to have a big take-up around the country. It is also very much in line with the desires of Pope Benedict XVI for the future of liturgical celebration, as it receives its inspiration from Gregorian chant – a central part of musical liturgical history.”

“Roxanna Panufnik’s last Mass setting, the Westminster Mass, was and continues to be an international success,” says Ward, “so a very wide appeal is anticipated for the Schola Missa de Angelis.”

The concert is in aid of The London Oratory School Schola Foundation.

Friday 7th May at 7.30pm
at St James’s Church, Spanish Place, George Street, London W1.
The London Oratory School Schola; Director: Lee Ward.
Schola Missa de Angelis by Roxanna Panufnik: world premiere
Plus: Gabrieli's In Ecclesis; Bruckner motets; Grayston Ives' Canterbury Te Deum. 

Tickets priced £10, £15, £20 available now through

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