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The Rock Mass

The Rock Mass was a five-year collaboration with Czech composer Daniel Kyzlink. It is a breathtaking work scored for symphony orchestra, rock band and singers, and was premiered in the spring of 2013 by the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra conducted by French conductor Martin Lebel and with guest vocalists Gaz Twist and Kirsten Joy from the U.K. The music is breathtaking: a fusion of genres with a strong rock undercurrent, yet with surprising excursions into orchestral fugues, symphonies and searing brass passages. Those who came to the premiere performances, performed to launch the new spa season in Karlovy Vary, described it as 'stunning' and 'awesome music'.
The work, whilst based loosely on themes from the Mass (there is a Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and so on) attempts to speak of spiritual truth without being 'religious'. Here's what I wrote for the press release:



The Mass is an ancient rite in the Christian church. It is a sacrament — a door to the sacred. Like an icon, a sunset, or a human face, it gives us a glimpse of the divine, but this sacrament, above all others, leads us into profound truth for it speaks of the heart of the Christian faith. Over the centuries since Jesus spoke those immortal words, ‘this is my body, broken for you, take — eat in remembrance of me,’ there have been many discussions (sometimes heated) as to the theology or practice of this sacrament, but one fact remains undisputed: the gift of Jesus to his followers was not a theological theory, but a meal.These musical reflections on the Mass offer a musical feast. We follow the major themes of the Latin Mass, but there is no attempt to recreate the ancient sacrament. Instead, we use music and lyrics to meditate on certain core themes within Christianity — themes which include the nature of God, his gracious gift, and the problem of evil, the latter a subject that has engaged philosophers and divines for centuries. The central theme of the Mass is, of course, the proposition that Jesus has dealt with this problem. So as you meditate on these words and join us on this musical and spiritual journey, we hope that you will be able to ‘take and eat’, to taste for yourself. If there is nothing more profound here than pretty words and beautiful music, at least you will have enjoyed some wonderful art. We hope that there is more, and that this work will help you on your spiritual journey.

A deluxe CD, recorded with the KSO + some amazing rock and jazz musicians, is available!  It includes an awesome 60-page book. To buy a CD or to find out more about the project (including song demos) please visit the main Rock Mass website. To help us with the project, please check out our Facebook page and 'like' it. Thanks!