Arvo Pärt: Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) - Choral Score
The Berlin Mass is intended to be sung liturgically during Pentecost, and includes the Veni Sancte Spiritus specific to that service. The gently unfolding repetition deliberately avoids dramatic and pictorial elements, exuding quiet dignity and a profound sense of joy. The vocal scores have almost no interpretive markings. Dynamics and tempi are left to the performers; it is their task to experience and communicate the rich spiritual possibilities offered in the music. The work is devout and transparent. For the willing listener, it can be a clear window into the soul. (Richard Brown) The Berlin Mass was given its first performance (by Theatre of Voices) at the Catholic Days in Berlin during May 1990. The occasion was a celebration of Mass, and the music, scored for four singers and organ, had a strictly liturgical function. Pärt subsequently decided to orchestrate the work for strings and chorus, and also made many changes to details of the composition, most substantially to the accompaniment of the Sanctus.