A new mass setting, composed in honor of Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, premiered at the General Convention festival Eucharist June 17.
Composed by Craig Phillips, associate director of music and composer-in-residence at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, Calif., the Festival Eucharist follows a standard Mass setting with a Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, Christ our Passover and Agnus Dei.
The Rev. Canon Anthony Jewiss, General Convention deputy executive officer, contacted Phillips in 2004 about writing the setting. Both agreed on music that would be accessible and easily learned by congregations throughout the church, while also being a work of substance and musical interest that would endure, according to Phillips.
There are three versions of the Festival Eucharist, which Paraclete Press is publishing. A standard version -- set for congregation, choir and organ -- is simpler, intended for use in churches on Sundays. A second version -- with accompaniment for organ, brass quintet and timpani -- could be used in many churches for festive occasions such as Easter or Pentecost. The third version, performed at General Convention, has accompaniments for 12-part brass, percussion and organ.
The composition also includes two choices for a fraction anthem, Phillips explains -- one more festive in nature, one more contemplative.
In some movements, especially the Gloria, the choir performs large portions of the text, while the congregation sings a recurring refrain, such as “Glory to God in the highest.” The congregation sings the entire Sanctus and Agnus Dei.
Phillips has received commissions from the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, Washington National Cathedral, the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s, Pacific Palisades, Calif., and many other churches and cathedrals. He also has penned several secular works.
For more on Craig Phillips, go to www.allsaintsbh.org/music/craig.htm