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And now, a Bluegrass mass!
by Stephen Black for Vocal Area Network
Posted December 7, 2009

Carol BarnettThere are several choral works called masses that have become popular in the last fifty years or so that are non-traditional in their approach to setting the Catholic mass. There is the Missa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez, which keeps the integrity of the complete Latin texts but utilizes indigenous Argentinian rhythms and instruments. Another example is the Missa Luba arranged by Father Guido Haazen, which incorporates traditional Congolese songs and prayers into the composition as well as the Latin texts. A more recent setting of the Latin Missa Brevis is Bob Chilcott's Jazz Mass, a work written for the New Orleans Children's Chorus with varied jazz rhythms and styles. And now a new work joins this eclectic repertory, The World Beloved A Bluegrass Mass, by the Minneapolis-based composer Carol Barnett.

The World Beloved -- A Bluegrass Mass was premiered in 2008 by the professional ensemble VocalEssence, conducted by Philip Brunelle and in collaboration with the bluegrass band Monroe Crossing. There are several interesting aspects of the work, not the least of which is the scoring! T