Any background on this beautiful Missa Brevis?
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 986
    Stumbled upon this on CPDL. My choir adore it, but it is not only anonymous, but also undated.

    Can anyone clue me in with more details about this?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,722
    I've done some yahoogling. There's a common Sattner mass, but that's obviously different. There is a listing on GIA which references the Royal College of Church music's edition which is composed by "various". RCCM has no info, and their own press doesn't even reference the listing which GIA reprints.

    There is one plausible lead that I've found, however: Claudio Casciolini. I cannot find a copy of it, but he's the only other composer whose name comes up when searching for Missa Seraphica. I suppose it is possible.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,722
    If you come across Arthur Henry Brown's mass, this is a dead end, too. An old review I found on JSTOR mentions that it had an organ accompaniment, which this obviously lacks.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,944
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  • There's a Missa Seraphica by Vittoria Raphaela Aleotti, from the 1500s. Can't locate a score to see if the music matches. The setting doesn't seem like a renaissance composer's work. Pretty though!
  • Missa Seraphica was created/composed by the English scholar-musician Francis Burgess (1879-1948). It was originally published in the Anglo-Catholic (very ‘high church’ Church of England) series ‘Liturgical Choir Books’, which Burgess edited. The piece is part of a veritable flood of relatively simple settings of the Ordinary using English/Anglican texts in the period 1890-1940. Burgess is best known as an exponent of Gregorian chant fit with English words and the editor of several major collections in this genre, most notably the Plainchant Gradual (posted on and the aforementioned Liturgical Choir Books.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 986
    This is in Latin... is it an adaptation?
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • It’s in English (‘King James’) and was composed using that language.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 986
    I’m not sure I’m making myself clear — I understood you to be talking about an English Missa Brevis called the Missa Seraphica, but the score to which I linked in my initial post is in Latin.

    Stylistically, it looks like it could be the same thing — your suggestion of composer seems the most plausible, given the music —, but fitted to the Latin text. As I don’t have the Burgess book to hand, could you verify that this is indeed what has taken place?
  • Sorry for barking up the wrong branch of the tree: I didn’t look past the Kyrie file. I’ll find a copy of the English-language version and compare it with this edition. I suspect that you’re right about it being fitted with the Latin text: what an unusual example of complex musician-ecclesiology it would be.
  • Yes, this is in fact the same Mass ordinary that Francis Burgess published with English texts, including a polyphonic Gloria and a Creed, the latter Vatican/Solesmes IV with organ accompaniment.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,046
    Hmm, if we've established it as a work by Burgess, what does that do to its legal status on cpdl?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Burgess died in 1948, so I guess copyright would hinge on whether the RSCM (the current publisher of the English-language version) has renewed the copyright. My very strong feeling is that it’s an original Burgess work, in that the style closely matches other analogous settings composed around the time Missa Seraphica was published.

    Omission of the Gloria in the posted Latin version (so far) is regrettable: it’s quite succinct and so very usable.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 756
    If the RSCM published it in the UK (which is usually the case, it being a British organisation), then copyright renewal isn't an issue, as it's not provided for there.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    UK copyright does not depend on doing anything. In this case the author;s right expired in 2018, 70 years after the death of the author, as is usual. However the publisher;s copyright in the typographic arrangement of any particular edition lasts 25 years from production, so you can;t photocopy a recent edition.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 986
    Thanks for the research!