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Mass of the False Relation

for vocal ensemble

Year:  2005 Instrumentation:  SSAATTBB solo voices

Year:  2005
Instrumentation  SSAATTBB solo voices

Pepe Becker

Composer:   Pepe Becker


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In 2001, Andrew Cantrill, then director of the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral Wellington, commissioned me to write an Introit ("Come to Christ"), and this was performed during their tour of Britain and Ireland in 2002. That year, life got extra busy with the birth of my 3rd son, but I'd always had in mind to try my hand sometime at writing a complete setting of the 'proper' of the Mass text: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus & Bendictus and Agnus Dei. Thus followed, a few years later, the Mass of the False Relation, the six movements of which were written between July 2005 and May 2006. It is dedicated with thanks and admiration to my stalwart singing friends who premiered it with me soon after, in a Baroque Voices concert of Medieval, Renaissance, 20th and 21st Century Mass movements, entitled "Massive!".

I must acknowledge that, as well as using the Medieval techniques of organum (parallel 4ths & 5ths) and false relation (the use of a flat or sharp version of a note simultaneously or juxtaposed with its natural version), I have ‘borrowed’ from parts of melodies by Bach, Handel & Dowland in some movements – some melodies are more heavily disguised than others…but I’ll leave you musicians and listeners to decipher their derivation!

The Kyrie movement has subsequently been performed in other Baroque Voices concerts, most recently in May 2017, in a concert entitled "Alleluia: a newe work! (Memories of Our Masters)", which acknowledged the expert and extraordinary work of my Victoria University composition teachers, Jack Body, David Farquhar and Ross Harris, alongside works by some of their past students, as well as Medieval and Renaissance music, all based around themes of birth, death, gratitude and remembrance.

– Pepe Becker, October 2017

Performance history

22 Jul 2006: Performed by Baroque Voices directed by Pepe Becker