A new work for choir, brass, organ, and percussion, Michael John Trotta’s Gloria delivers a tapestry of melodic richness. A strong sense of architecture guides the listener through the three contrasting movements, full of triumphant drama. Trotta’s work is a rare example of music that is both grounded in tradition and appealing to the modern listener.
Commissioned by a consortium of 10 choirs for simultaneous nationwide premieres during the 2018-2019 season, Michael John Trotta’s Gloria is a 14-minute work for choir, brass, organ, and percussion.This three movement setting uses a tapestry of sonorous harmonies that are triumphant, reflective and energetic to encompass both the history and the relevance of one of the oldest texts in the Christian tradition.
The text dates back to the fourth century with notable settings by Vivaldi, Bach, Poulenc, Walton, and more recently by John Rutter. And despite its history, the text is still sung daily in Christian Liturgies around the world.
Gloria in excelsis opens with a brief brass fanfare that sets the stage for the triumphant theme. The contrasting middle section on the text “et in terra pax” (and on earth peace) foreshadows the sweetness of the second movement before returning to the original theme, with rhythmically intensified brass and percussion underscoring.
Domine Deus provides repose and refreshment from the intensity of the outer movements. A legato contrapuntal theme is introduced, recalling of the “et in terra pax” theme from the first movement. The second theme is delivered by a graceful soloist on the text “qui tollis,” (who takes away) to which the choir plaintively responds, “miserere mei” (have mercy on us). The final statement of the theme soars with a grace that sets the stage for the ending, which gently recedes as the listener is left with a sense of peace and well-being.
Quoniam Tu Solus is introduced with brass fanfare atop a virtuosic organ accompaniment, providing an energetic introduction for the choir who sings the brass motive on the text “quoniam tu solus sanctus” (For You alone are holy). Following this brief opening, a modal double fugue, based on the theme from the first movement, is introduced on the text, “cum sancto” (with the spirit). Each choral exposition each builds in intensity, briefly punctuated by developments in the brass. The work ends in a rhythmic and joyous declamation of the first theme, this time with choir, brass, organ, and percussion all culminating in a thrilling conclusion.
“tender harmonies and a palette of glowing vocal and instrumental colors” – Gramophone