1st Edition

The Origins and Ascendancy of the Concert Mass

By Stephanie Rocke Copyright 2021
    232 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The mass is an extraordinary musical form. Whereas other Western art music genres from medieval times have fallen out of favour, the mass has not merely survived but flourished. A variety of historical forces within religious, secular, and musical arenas saw the mass expand well beyond its origins as a cycle of medieval chants, become concertised and ultimately bifurcate. Even as Western societies moved away from their Christian origins to become the religiously plural and politically secular societies of today, and the Church itself moved in favour of congregational singing, composers continued to compose masses. By the early twentieth century two forms of mass existed: the liturgical mass composed for church services, and the concert mass composed for secular venues. Spanning two millennia, The Origins and Ascendancy of the Concert Mass outlines the origins and meanings of the liturgical texts, defines the concert mass, explains how and why the split occurred, and provides examples that demonstrate composers’ gradual appropriation of the genre as a vehicle for personal expression on serious issues. By the end of the twentieth century the concert mass had become a repository for an eclectic range of theological and political ideas.


    Part I: Origins

    Chapter 1 Exploring the Ordinary of the Roman Rite

    Chapter 2 Differing Opinions about Music within the Church

    Chapter 3 Musical Formulations: From Plainchant to Concert Mass

    Chapter 4 Haydn’s Harmoniemesse (1802): An Early Concert Mass

    Part II: Becoming

    Chapter 5 The Concertisation of the Mass

    Chapter 6 Secularisation and Cultural Change: From Court and Church to Choral Societies and Choice

    Chapter 7 Nineteenth-century Concert Masses

    Part III: Division

    Chapter 8 Banished from the Eucharist: Cecilians, Plainsong Restoration, the Motu Propio, and Vatican II

    Chapter 9 Daniel Lentz’s Missa Umbrarum (1973)

    Part IV: Divided

    Chapter 10 Masses for concert halls 1903–1963

    Chapter 11 Missa Carminum (Folk Song Mass)

    Part V: Ascendance

    Chapter 12 Conclusions and Future Directions


    Stephanie Rocke is a Research Associate at the University of Melbourne with an ongoing interest in religious and cultural diversity as it is manifested in musical forms and musical activities across time.