Galbraith: In Constant Motion

Nancy Galbraith’s Missa Mysteriorum is a choral score in constant motion.” — Adam Waite

On April 30, Adam Waite — Minister of Music, Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church — leads the orchestral premiere of Galbraith’s Missa Mysteriorum in Denver, CO. Originally scored for SATB choir and wind ensemble, Missa Mysteriorum (Mass of the Mysteries) is a five-movement work that premiered in 1999 by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh led by Robert Page. Also on the program is Galbraith’s orchestral piece Euphonic Blues, which was written and premiered in 2012 for the centennial celebration of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music.

Adam Waite, conductor and Minister of Music

Waite continues. “I’ll never forget being in the audience at Carnegie Music Hall for the premiere of Missa Mysteriorum. It was November 1999, and Robert Page and the Mendelssohn Choir commissioned her for the large-scale piece. I was Nancy’s student at the time, and was well versed in her work and musical language…however, [it] didn’t change the fact that I was completely mesmerized by the ‘newness’ of her Mass…To me, this work was a ‘game-changer’ — I felt she had discovered a new musical voice, and in turn was introducing us (her students, the audience, and me) to a new way of thinking about sacred choral music.

“There is courageousness to Nancy’s choral writing in Missa Mysteriorum…she entrusts the choir with a broad expressiveness few other composers dare to do. From the opening polychord and subsequent fugues in the Kyrie to the homophonic exultations of the Sanctus and meditative four-part chorale of the Agnus Dei, Nancy created a choral score in constant motion, discovering new sounds at every turn seemingly inspired by every aspect of the 500 years of sacred music that came before…Some 15 years later, I was fortunate to become Minister of Music at Montview Church, and I inherited a music program with a long and rich history of promoting new and adventurous sacred choral music – often with an outstanding professional orchestra…I’m excited to hear the results of Nancy’s rich new orchestral palette as she applied it to this seminal work, and to know that Missa Mysteriorum stands ready to become an important addition to the canon of great sacred choral symphony music.”