Missa gentis humanæ
7 Agnus Dei
8 Ite missa est
World Première Recording
Gawlick: Missa Gentis Humanae
Performing artists: Trinity Wall Street Choir, Julian Wachner
Configuration: Single CD Digipak
Available: June 1st, 2014
Recorded: February 16-18, 2014
Booklet: 32 Page
• Missa Gentis Humanae: literally a celebration of love and peace for the entire human family.
• Spectacular performance by eight soloists of the famous choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street, NYC.
• Conducted by Julian Wachner, renowned conductor of TWS and a fine composer in his own right, lending the
performance a “fellow composer’s insight.”
• Recorded in the famous acoustics of Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, MA, where many Musica Omnia releases
have been made.
• Engineered by Musica Omnia’s distinguished co-founder, Joel Gordon.
• Booklet includes a comprehensive “listener’s guide” of texts, transliteration and easy-to-follow English translation.
From American Record Guide:
“A man named Ralf Yusuf Gawlick has to have an interesting background; and indeed, he is of Turkish and Kurdish descent,
born in Germany in 1969 and educated there and in Austria, Poland, and America. He now teaches at Boston College.
Missa Gentis Humanae is an a cappella mass for eight voices, and Gawlick follows the relatively recent path for
masses—mixing in other texts. He uses his wife’s name to determine pitches, and in the Introit the choir hums those
notes, then sings them in Hebrew letters and then in Greek. Christ’s “new commandment” to love one another as He has
loved us is sung in Greek and then Latin, and that leads to an “alleluia” and into the Kyrie. Jorge Luis Borges, Virgil,
Brecht, Zbigniew Herbert, Dostoevsky, and Walter Scott have their words, in their original languages, sewn into the
fabric; but sometimes only vowels or syllables from the words are sung in the first half of the mass.
As for the style, if we have neoclassical, neoromantic, and neotonal music, why not neo-Renaissance? The textures are
usually spare, and Gawlick’s writing “encapsulates every imaginable kind of musical sound and device: from plainchant
through Medieval two-, three-, and four-voice polyphony, to complex Renaissance counterpoint and then a suggestion of
the ’homophonic’ approach…dictated by the Council of Trent”. The Benedictus is in a slow three and is almost folk-like.
Elsewhere, the feel is less of a beautiful high-Renaissance banquet for the ears and more of an earlier, restrained
style, from when the rules of harmony were less defined and lines angled in at each other and sometimes clashed.
The mass is skillfully written, reverent, completely without artifice, and quite effective. The timbre of the voices
combined with the often austere harmonies did tire my ears, but that’s my fault. not Gawlick’s—string orchestras tend
to do the same to me. Texts and English translations are included, and you do need to follow along once or twice. I
would love to hear a performance of this in a cathedral. The choir is flawless, and the sound is reverberant but clear.
Easy-on-the-ears modern choral music has a place, but this is something different—a challenging, sometimes exacting
work of greatness.”
© 2015 American Record Guide