Roman Maciejewski Works in detail

Missa Brevis

In 1963 Roman Maciejewski decided to set up an amateur choir the goal of which would be to sing only religious music in order to – as he wrote in a letter to his mother – “provide people with decent and noble entertainment at a time when so much rubbish gets on our nerves”.

He called his ensemble the Roman Choir; although initially it had only a dozen or so members, over the years the membership rose to over one hundred (in addition, the choir became much more professional and Americanised). Missa Brevis for choir and organ (1964) is associated with the beginnings of the Roman Choir, which is not without significance when it comes to its musical matter, determined as it was by the capabilities of the ensemble that was to perform it. That is why it would be difficult to say that the work is characterised by a richness of compositional means, complex polyphonic technique or complicated harmony.

Missa Brevis is written for a three-voice mixed choir (SAB), although the score does allow various combination of voices (even only one voice). It consists of the following movements: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Benedictus as well as Agnus Dei, and is a simple setting of the various verses, although the composer does try to differentiate the voice groupings. Traditional consonance-based melody is a charming mark of the work.