Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Miracle" Mass

Pianist and composer Stephen Hough

"My car screeched out of control-swerving, spinning...then suddenly it was tumbling in somersaults across three lanes. As it turned over four of five times many thoughts raced through my mind...I would never get to hear the music I had written that week."

So writes composer and pianist Stephen Hough, about the car accident that inspired the title "Missa Mirabilis" (Mass of Wonders, or Miracle Mass). Most fortunately, he survived the wreck, and lived to hear the work's premiere (with organ accompaniment) months later at Westminster Cathedral.

The Symphonic Choir is learning this amazing piece for our performances in April with the Indianapolis Symphony and conductor Nicholas McGeegan. It will be the premiere of the fully orchestrated setting of the work.

If you like the lush harmonies of Fauré, or the inventive mélodie of Poulenc, you'll enjoy this piece. Likewise if you are a fan of jazz. It's beautifully crafted, inventive and fresh, familiar enough to reward the the listener, surprising enough to delight at the same time.

Hough writes a lot in addition to his work as a performer and composer. You can get a glimpse at his website:

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