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The reimagined mass:
The certainty from ritual


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In the second concert series of its 25th season, CŌNFIDŌ, The Esoterics will reimagine the mass – the ancient rite of the Christian liturgy, in which believers gather in sacred community and are then “dismissed” (the origin of the word missa) into the secular world. Rather than offer a concert of masses without comment, The Esoterics will present four settings of mass texts that express crises of faith, criticize organized religion, and prioritize the health of our planet over any individual belief.

The program for CŌNFIDŌ will include Missa Charles Darwin by the Massachusetts composer Gregory Brown. Brown’s work is based on the architecture of the Latin rite, but replaces texts with excerpts from Darwin’s On the origin of species and The descent of man. This performance will be the world premiere of the mixed chorus version of this work. Gregory Brown will join us for the concert weekend, to discuss his compositions and chat with the audience.

In addition to Brown’s Missa, The Esoterics will perform two masses by British composer Giles Swayne, Missa Tiburtina and Petite messe solitaire. Swayne’s Tiburtina is inspired by Chief Seattle’s 1854 speech: “the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.” Swayne tells us that he composed the Petite messe solitaire (“lonely little mass”) for two choirs, to represent the clash between traditional Christian certainties and current thinking – which is more complex, and full of doubt.

To conclude the program, The Esoterics will perform Island in space, Kirke Mechem’s brilliant setting of “dona nobis pacem,” the final phrase of the Latin mass. In Mechem’s piece, this phrase is sung in tandem with verses by Archibald MacLeish, as well as a 1969 description of the Earth by Russell Schweickart, the first astronaut to view our planet from space.

The Esoterics will present three performances of CŌNFIDŌ.
Please join us for this choral conversation around belief and unbelief, ritual, and community.

13 April 2018 | 800pm | St Stephen’s Episcopal Church | 4805 NE 45th Street | Seattle
14 April 2018 | 800pm | Holy Rosary Catholic Church | 4210 SW Genesee Street | West Seattle
15 April 2018 | 700pm | Christ Episcopal Church | 310 North K Street | Tacoma