Mass settings for chamber groups
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm back with another rep question!

    I've been cycling through the same Mass settings for a little while (Victoria's Missa O Quam Gloriosum, Missa Ascendens Christus in Altum, and Missa O Magnum Mysterium) and am looking for more options. I generally work in small groups (between quartet to octet) with professionals in a pick-up setting, so typically not more than one 2-hour rehearsal before we go. I provide music ahead of time, a minimum of a week but longer if possible, and I do have the option of scheduling an additional separate rehearsal, but it can be difficult to balance everyone's schedules (plus the commute! which in the LA area is terrible no matter what) so I try to keep it lean.

    We most recently did Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli for Assumption, in combination with his Surge Propera from Canticum Canticorum and Victoria's Vide Speciosam, and found that we had to cut the Credo and use a chant one instead because of time (which I had anticipated might happen). On the bright side, it's pretty easily readable which is nice, but the problem was more the sheer length rather than difficulty which led to us running out of rehearsal time, I think. Despite cutting the Credo, Mass ran quite a bit longer than normal--luckily, I work for priests who are more than happy to stand and listen to the beautiful music, and prioritize beauty over a strict timetable. But I'd still like to stay within a reasonable timeframe because of practical limitations with vocal fatigue and rehearsal time.

    So, I'm looking for some more options of complete Mass settings (because we're typically using them for solemn high Masses) that are beautiful and interesting to sing, but also not super long. All three of the ones I mentioned above fit into that category; I've also used Lassus' Missa Venatorum as well. (I think I've also used Hassler's "Missa super Dixit Maria" but kind of found it less interesting, to be honest.) I've searched through the archives here, but I've found that most people also have the limitation of a mostly volunteer group, or only SATB--I'm open to up to SSAATTBB, though I don't typically do double choir (because I'm usually singing too and I find trying to "conduct" and sing is hard enough without introducing a double-choir element). Research elsewhere usually ends up with me running into the time issue again, because people are often thinking about concert repertoire and not doing a whole Mass setting within the context of an actual liturgy. I'd love to hear everyone's suggestions, as I've found this place to be a treasure trove of information. Thanks!
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 263
    There is the Hassler Missa Secunda:

    There is also the Gabrieli Missa Brevis:
  • Palestrina’s Missa Je Suis Desheritee is a beautiful, fairly short setting that my choir is looking to learn soon.
    Thanked by 1Clara Chung
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,725
    The Byrd Masses are not too long, we sing the 3 and 4 part Masses. This Mass is also reasonably short, Missa Iste Confessor, Palestrina. While this one is not very Brevis! is is also not very long either, Missa Brevis in F, Palestrina.

    Our Sunday Mass with Asperges does not take more than 1½ hours and we always sing the setting of the Credo. During the week with no sermon or Asperges we have sung these Masses in around 1 hour.
    Thanked by 1Clara Chung
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    Here are some from one of our choirs’ rep list. Most, but not all, are relatively short (and one can always substitute a bit of chant for variation/time saving).

    William Byrd, Mass for Three Voices | ATB
    Antonio Lotti, Mass for Three Voices | ATB

    Charles d’Ambleville, Messe des Jésuites de Pékin | SATB
    William Byrd, Mass for Four Voices | SATB
    Thomas Crecquillon, Missa je prens en gre | SATB
    Divitis, Missa Quem dicunt homines | SATB
    Nicolas Gombert, Missa Je suis déshéritée | SATB
    Orlando di Lasso, Missa Octavi toni | SATB
    Antonio Lotti, Missa Octavi Toni | SATB
    Antonio Lotti, Missa brevis in D Minor | SATB
    Josef Rheinberger, Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis, Op. 117 | SATB
    John Sheppard, Plainsong Mass for a Mean | SATB
    John Sheppard, Western Wind Mass | SATB | Published by Chester Music
    Thomas Tallis, Mass for Four Voices | SATB | This Mass does not include a Kyrie. We usually pair this with Taverner, Kyrie le Roy
    Tomás Luis de Victoria, Missa quarti toni | SATB |
    Tomás Luis de Victoria, Missa Quam pulchri sunt | SATB
    Tomás Luis de Victoria, Missa O Quam gloriosum | SATB

    William Byrd, Mass for Five Voices | SATTB
    Hassler, Missa super ecce quam bonum | SSATB
    Imogen Holst, Mass in A minor | SSATB
    Thomas Tallis, Missa Salve intemerata | SATBarB | Published by Antico Edition
    John Taverner, Small Devotion Mass | SATBarB
  • Thanks, everyone! This is a great starting point for me, and I’ll happily take more as well :) I do something like 10-14 solemn high Masses every year where I have full control over the rep (plus weddings and funerals with slightly less control), so I have a decent amount of room to play around with new settings.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Also to Chaswjd: I realized I had generally written off the Hassler Missa Secunda because it’s done so often (and often so poorly) by volunteer choirs, but I took a listen to it again sung by a better group and it’s actually pretty. I think the priests would like to hear more grand and more obscure rep where possible, but I’m actually going to consider that one more seriously as well, especially if I’ve only got a quartet on hand for something.
  • The Hassler Missa Secunda is a gem. It is probably my favorite setting of the Ordinary, which shows you what a shallow and childish person I am.

    But of all the Masses, when it is sung with suppleness, light on its feet with a strong sense of lyricism, I can so easily imagine the angels singing in bliss.

    Consider throwing organ and instruments into the mix with the Hassler, too -- it rewards it.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    I've sung or conducted most of these, relatively short, doable - and beautiful! - settings. All (except one) can be found on CPDL or IMSLP.

    Bernabei - Mass in G
    Bernardi – Missa Il bianco e dolce cigno
    Lassus - Missa super Il me suffit
    Lobo - Missa Sancta Maria
    Palestrina - Missa Ave regina caelorum
    Schmitt - Missa sine nomine (shameless plug - see attached)

    Allegri - Missa Che fa oggi il mio sole
    Eccard - Missa super Mon coeur se recommande a vous

    More ideas in Appendix I of Terry's Catholic Church Music (pp. 203f) and on the Music Pages of St. Mary's Church in Norwalk, Connecticut. The professional schola sings a 5-voice (mostly SATTB) mass setting each Sunday.
    Thanked by 2PaxTecum Clara Chung
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    Here are more SATB Masses like the ones listed above, though I don't know them first hand.
    (* not available free online)

    Giovanni Francesco Anerio - Missa della Battaglia
    *Bernardi- Praeparate Corda Vestra
    Croce - Missa Prima Sexti Toni
    *de Fossa - Missa Ich Segge a Dieu
    Lassus - Missa Doulce mémoire
    Lassus - Missa Je suis déshéritée (this was a popular chanson to parody)
    Lassus - Missa Susanne un jour (this one is particularly lovely)
    Maillard - Missa Je suis déshéritée (SATT)
    *Porta - Missa Tertii Toni

    Further ideas here, many for 5, 6, or more voices. Admittedly a mixed bag, but the settings by the older masters (Anerio, Asola, Croce, Ingegneri) look like they're worth doing.
    Thanked by 1Clara Chung
  • smt
    Posts: 37
    I might be a little late to the party but wanted to add a few remarks:

    First, I highly recommend the Byrd masses. To me they feel much more intimate and emotional (without losing the subtleness of polyphony) than other mass settings of the time. And the story around these masses - the situation of Tudor Catholics etc - is simply fascinating. When we rehearse them (in our living room btw) and I remember that once you could go to jail for just possessing the score it always gives me goose bumps.

    Second I'd like to add some:
    Palestrina, Missa Aeterna Christi Munera (a classic)
    Magalhaes, Missa si ignoras te

    Some I have on my list:
    Palestrina, Missa Sicut lilium inter spinas
    Lassus, Missa Je ne menge poinct de porcq

    See also this thread:

    And you probably know this page dedicated to Victoria where one can always find a new gem:
    I've sung Missa quarti toni and liked it very much.