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In the opening concert of the Durham Choral Festival, The Will Todd Ensemble will join Durham Choral Society to perform Mass in Blue and Jazz Missa Brevis. Will Todd will be giving a pre-concert talk in the Cathedral at 7.00pm
Mass in Blue was commissioned in 2003 by Hertfordshire Chorus and written for Will Todd's wife, soprano Bethany Halliday. Since that time the work has become firmly established in the choral repertoire. Mass in Blue is an upbeat jazz setting of the Latin Mass text for soprano soloist and chorus.
The work has been performed many times and featured in the 25th anniversary of the Exeter Festival Chorus back in 2008.
Will Todd's 'exuberant and electrifying' jazz mass for jazz ensemble, soprano and choir. This uplifting and innovative work is one of celebration, and combines the powerful forces of choir, soprano soloist and jazz ensemble in a weave of 12 bar blues and up-beat grooves. Will Todd's love of a wide range of jazz music is reflected in the setting - from ballad to gospel and beyond in a hybrid style that might be described as 'religious doctrine meets funk!' - Exeter Festival Chorus
Jazz Missa Brevis was written for Portsmouth Cathedral with funds from The Groves Legacy.
The work gives new life to the sung Latin Mass texts and is underpinned by Todd’s characteristic jazz harmonies and melodic craftsmanship. This short setting embraces a variety of jazz styles, from the swinging jazz waltz Kyrie to the up-beat Latin-groove Gloria. The smooth jazz ballad Sanctus, 7/8 Benedictus and soulful Agnus Dei complete this inspiring Mass setting., it is suitable for performance both liturgically and as part of a concert.
In writing Jazz Missa Brevis for Portsmouth Cathedral Choir, I have aimed to create simple and lasting music that will work equally well in liturgy or in concert. Drawing on my own piano playing style, all of the movements began life as extended improvisations which I then honed and developed into the completed movements. I hope this ensures that there is a genuine jazz ‘heart’ to each of the sections. In the same way that I would in a jazz gig, I’ve made sure there is a contrast of rhythmic feels between the movements. I hope singers, musicians and conductors will enjoy performing this piece as much as I have enjoyed writing it!- Will Todd