Mass for St. Paul's
Congregational mass setting containing Lord, Have Mercy (and the Greek Kyrie eleison version); Holy Lord (Trisagion); Holy, Holy, Holy Lord (Sanctus); Lamb of God (Agnus Dei). Rite II. For congregation (with SATB option for the choir) and organ.
Mass for St. Paul's was commissioned by St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Va., on the occasion of their 200th anniversary in 2009. The composer William Bradley Roberts is Professor of Church Music and Director of Chapel Music at Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal), which has important historic ties with St. Paul's Parish. The seminary, which was founded in 1823, initially called St. Paul's home until a separate campus was established. In addition, Douglas Beck, who at the time of the commission was Organist-Choirmaster at St. Paul's, was also Assistant Chapel Musician at Virginia Theological Seminary.
The mass is intended for congregational use. Choral parts are provided and may be sung, if desired. Alternatively, the choir may sing in unison with the congregation. (While the congregation is learning the mass, it might be valuable for the choir to sing in unison, then move to the parts when the congregation feels secure on the melody.) The Kyrie is available in English, but the Greek text is also given for those whose tradition calls for it.
The Gloria, often included in a short mass, is replaced in this version by a setting of the text Trisagion (Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One). The spare text of the Trisagion allows for shorter, simpler, more easily learned music than the Gloria.
Churches in denominations that do not use mass settings might find that movements from Mass for St. Paul's can still be used in their worship. The themes are universal, and their use through the history of the Church imbues the words with an ancient resonance.