Gloria In Excelsis Deo



Performance time: ca. 3:30; Forces: SSATTBB unaccompanied; Meter: 3/2; Tempo: Samba, h = 96; Language: Latin

For several years in the first decade of the current century, I performed annual concerts of Christmas- and winter-themed songs in a variety of musical styles. As a Norteamericano, the idea of warm-climate holidays was particularly fascinating to me: What if Jesus had been born in Brazil instead of Palestine? Then (with a few historo-geographic manipulations), what if the angel chorus proclaimed their Good News in… a samba? (Angels can syncopate, yes?) Thus, and hence.
The first and last sections largely rely on layered ostinati framed by two harmonies oscillating via common tones (C and G, shared between C major seven and A-flat major seven). The center section adopts a dramatic homorhythmic texture with dense harmonies to emphasize the idea of “…and in Earth, peace.” Following the exciting buildup and grand climax, the angel voices slowly absorb back into the silent, holy night.