ABOUT MISSA BREVIS
Missa brevis means short mass. The term describes compositions where either the entire ordinary of the mass is set in an efficient manner or where part of the ordinary text is omitted. This second definition is appropriate here, as this work does not include the Credo (a brief setting of Psalm 34:17 & 18 is included in its place).
Psalm 34 is an acrostic poem where each verse begins with the successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Focusing on lines 17) "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; and he delivers them from all their troubles." and 18) "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit", this mass is offered to all who are suffering.
One final note, the opening of this composition (which functions as the musical foundation for the rest of the work) was directly inspired by several exquisite masses by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. However, it is likely that listeners will hear these passages as paying homage to Aaron Copland. This coincidence is no accident. Copland's music is most loved by the person to whom this work is dedicated and this connection is intentionally emphasized from the outset.
ABOUT THE RECORDING
In this brief paragraph, it would be impossible to adequately express the importance of recording new compositions for composers. I want to thank everyone who participated in this reading. This composition is no longer imprisoned on the written page. Thanks to their efforts, it has been brought to life for all to hear and for that, I am very grateful.