Mass in Blue

Will Todd's Mass in Blue is an upbeat setting of the latin mass for SATB choir, soprano solo and jazz trio or ensemble.  It is a brilliant blend of driving jazz grooves and clear, strong, choral writing against which the solo piano and solo soprano voice weave and blend in a delightful aural tapestry.

Mass in Blue has been performed more than 100 times around the world since its 2003 premiere (often to standing ovations!), and recorded by the Vasari Singers under Jeremy Backhouse for Signum Records.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

DOWNLOAD SCORE FOR PERUSAL

SINGING DAYS & WORKSHOPS

PERFORMANCES

REVIEWS

mass in blue score

mass in blue facebook pageMass in Blue (2003)

upbeat jazz setting of the latin mass text

for soprano, chorus and jazz trio or ensemble (with optional parts available for orchestral strings)

Duration  40 minutes

Commissioning details  Commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus

Additional information  Available on SIGCD083

'I have been conducting concerts for nearly fifty years and I can't remember such an enthusiastic response from a choir or audience.' George Jones, conductor, Billingshurst Choral Society

Performance Information

Mass in Blue is available with accompaniment in several versions - for twelve-piece big band, for jazz trio with optional saxophone, or as an arrangement for orchestral strings with jazz trio.  If you would like to enquire about the Will Todd Trio and Bethany Halliday being part of your Mass in Blue performance, please contact Cathy Boyes

Soprano Solo: fully notated, jazz knowledge and style required

SATB choir

Big band version: 1st Wind - Alto Sax / Soprano Sax
2nd Wind - Tenor Sax / Clarinet / Flute
3rd Wind - Bass Clarinet / Baritone Sax
2 Trumpets
2 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Timpani / percussion (1 player) [3 timpani, tam-tam, susp cym]
Drum Kit (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Bass - upright or elec (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Piano* (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)

Trio version: Drum Kit (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Bass - upright or elec (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Piano* (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Obbligato Soprano / Alto Sax (optional)

String Orchestra version: Drum Kit (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Bass - upright or elec (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Piano* (fully notated, jazz knowledge, improvisation expected)
Violin 1
Violin 2
Viola
Cello
Double Bass (orchestra)
Obbligato Trumpet (optional)
Obbligato Sax (optional)
Timpani / percussion (1 player) [3 timpani, tam-tam, susp cym]

Score prices:
Vocal score £12
Full score £40
Instrumental parts £5 each (transcribed piano part £8)
* 2 piano parts available - 1 lead sheet style (with chords), one with a higher level of transcription
Vocal scores are also available for UK hire at £7.20 each
Postage and packing or courier fees will be added to all orders

Merchandise  CD (Vasari Singers / Signum) £11.99 incl UK p & p
Bulk CD orders can be organised for choirs or other groups at a discount

For score and CD sales, please visit the SHOP section of our website.

Mass in Blue is published by Tyalgum Press.

Enquiries regarding performance, and purchase/hire of full, vocal and ensemble copies should be directed to Cathy Boyes

Click here to view and download 1 copy only of the vocal score for perusal

 

Mass in Blue Singing Days

Will Todd has run several successful Singing Days on Mass in Blue for choirs, as well as many shorter workshop sessions.

Singing Days are a wonderful opportunity to learn and perform Mass in Blue with the composer, and to meet other like-minded singers.

Typically, days include rehearsal sessions on the Mass with hints on singing in a jazz idiom and guidance to improve your singing technique from choral conductor Ralph Woodward and composer Will Todd. Over lunchtime there is a talk by Will, before a tutti rehearsal with the Will Todd Trio and soprano Bethany Halliday. The day culminates in a full performance of Mass in Blue with Will Todd at the piano, Bethany Halliday and the Will Todd Trio.

Singing Day tickets are usually £15-£18, with discounts for students and observers. Please contact us if your choir would be interested in hosting a future Mass in Blue singing day.

Ralph Woodward, Will Todd and the Will Todd Trio and Bethany Halliday can also be booked to run Singing Days and workshops for choirs and schools.

Participant comments:
"I had a brilliant time - really enjoyed the whole experience. Thanks to all concerned."  Chris Gay, alto - Bristol

"My thanks again on behalf of those [members of Aylesbury Festival Choir] who attended on Saturday for a wonderfully exhilarating day's singing."  Jan Roffe, Aylesbury Festival Choir

"A fantastic workshop in Cambridge last Saturday - stimulating, interesting and most enjoyable." Tom Cox, bass - Cambridge

"I and several of my friends enjoyed a most stimulating and enjoyable singing workshop with Ralph Woodward in Cambridge recently. To rehearse and perform the Mass in Blue with Will Todd and his trio and soloist Bethany Halliday was definitely the high spot of my year as a singer - an altogether uplifting and worthwhile experience which I thoroughly recommend ." Helen Bush, alto - Cambridge

 

Reviews

"a complete triumph for all concerned with a truly memorable performance which filled the Abbey with tremendous sounds"

John Manning/ Herts Advertiser/ 2013

"Todd knows what he's doing, and he meets the challenge of writing a convincing jazz setting of the mass, and pulls it off magnificently."

./ This is Derbyshire/ 2011

"a remarkable fusion, a telling setting of the words, supported by wonderful rhythms . . . what verve, what rhythm, what accuracy"

Shelagh Godwin/ Surrey Advertiser/ 2011

“[Will Todd] has a gift for melody and writes in an approachable style that has its roots firmly in the Anglican tradition. Here, we find him setting the ancient words of the mass to a vibrant jazz accompaniment and blues-style solos, with a panache that carries the listener along in its ever-changing soundscape.”

Neil Crutchley/ Leicester Mercury/ 2008

"...Todd's own Mass in Blue, an upbeat piece that really was uplifting.  The choir ... sang with gusto, clearly enjoying the work's soaring lines and rich bluesy harmonies, and Halliday sounded free as a bird.  Todd and his players were excellent throughout."

Tom Owen/ Sheffield Telegraph/ 2008

“Blending jazz and blues styles with largely well-written solid choral writing, the Mass in Blue wears its eclecticism lightly. Expression is the main priority, and Todd – who appears in the recording as the solo pianist – employs whatever style seems right for the text and the moment, rather than showing off his compositional virtuosity just for the sake of it. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by how structured the work is, considering its jazzy surface: the Mass is a legitimate entry into the choral repertoire. . . The music becomes more absorbing on every playing. Fans of high-quality choral singing should not miss the opportunity to grab this with both hands as soon as possible.”

Dominic McHugh / musicOMH.com / 2006

Vasari Singers Recording
“The music becomes more absorbing on every playing. Fans of high-quality choral singing should not miss the opportunity to grab this with both hands as soon as possible.” 
Read entire review

Dominic McHugh/ musicOMH.com/ 2006

“Mass in Blue was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening: each movement was set appropriately to its content -  gospel and blues for the Kyrie, lots of brass for the Gloria, a haunting ballad for the Agnus Dei,  and a return to the upbeat Credo for a grand finale.”

Joss O'Kelly/ The Bucks Herald/ 2005

”Both instrumental and choral writing are complex and yet straightforward: instantly accessible but music that will not only stand the test of time but will grow with repeated listening.” 
Read entire review

Helen Wright/ musicOMH.com/ 2004

”Others have done similar things: notably Tippett in his oratorio A Child of Our Time and Bernstein's liberal use of jazz/blues idioms. But Todd is sufficiently his own man to do it his way.”  
Read entire review

Thomas Hall/ The Journal, Newcastle/ 2004

“Todd’s imaginitive score . . . electrifying.” 

Jill Barlow/ The Watford Observer/ 2004

 

Performances

10 May 2015 - St John's Smith Square, London.

22 August 2014 - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff.

28 June 2014 - Victoria Rooms, Bristol.

21 June 2014 - Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden.

11 May 2014 - Newcastle

10 May 2014 -

13 April 2014 - First Parish Church, Sherborn, Massachusetts, USA

29 March 2014 - All Saint's, Hockerill, Bishop's Stortford, CM23 2DY

29 March 2014 - Clarendon Muse, Watford

2 March 2014 - St John's Lafayette Square, Washington DC, USA

25 January 2014 - St Martin's Church

16 November 2013 - Exter Cathedral

28 September 2013 - St Thomas' Church, Kendal

29 June 2013 - Woburn Parish Church

29 June 2013 - St James' Piccadilly, London W1J

22 June 2013 - Guildford Cathedral

11 May 2013 - Normandy Village Hall

5 May 2013 - Cavendish Hall, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

27 April 2013 - St Mary's Church, Kidlington

26 April 2013 - St Mary's Church, Kidlington

12 April 2013 - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

23 March 2013 - St Michael & All Angels Church, Southampton

16 March 2013 - Broadway United Methodist Church, Council Bluffs, Iowa

2 March 2013 - St Albans Abbey

9 December 2012 - Taunton School

17 November 2012 - Basingstoke

11 November 2012 - Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10 November 2012 - Price Hall, Bradford Grammar School

22 September 2012 - Kingston St Mary Parish Church

21 July 2012 - St James's Church, Prebend St, Islington N1 8PF

14 July 2012 - St Mary's Church, South Woodford E18 2PA

24 June 2012 - Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre

12 May 2012 - St Catherine's School, Bramley

24 March 2012 - Neston, Liverpool

6 March 2012 - Central European University, Budapest

12 November 2011 - Landau Forte College, Derby

12 November 2011 - St Martin's Church, Dorking

6 November 2011 - Trinity Wall Street

2 October 2011 - St Michael's Church, Budapest

18 June 2011 - Parish Church of St Mary & St Giles, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

11 June 2011 - St John's Church, Waterloo Road, London SE1

11 June 2011 - Church of St Michael and All Angels, Flower Lane, Mill Hill, London NW7

28 May 2011 - Grand Theatre, Leeds

21 May 2011 - The Venue at Leeds College of Music

14 May 2011 - Vienna Presbyterian Church, Vienna VA

18 April 2011 - Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center

9 April 2011 - Cheltenham Town Hall

2 April 2011 - St John's Church, Hackney, London E

18 March 2011 - Histon Baptist Church

13 March 2011 - St Peter's Church Hall, Moorhead Lane, Saltaire BD18 4DH

15 January 2011 - St Albans

20 November 2010 - St Olave's Church, York

2 October 2010 - St John's Church, Carrington, Nottingham

10 July 2010 - Romsey Abbey

9 July 2010 - Patroklikirche Dortmund-Kirchhoerde

1 July 2010 - Canford School

26 June 2010 - Carshalton

20 June 2010 - Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berks

19 June 2010 - St Martin's Church, Epsom

19 June 2010 - Great Hall, University of Reading, London Road Campus, RG1 5AQ

15 May 2010 - Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge

4 April 2010 - Sheffield Cathedral

28 March 2010 - Colyton Grammar School, Devon

24 March 2010 - Sandbach School, Cheshire

20 March 2010 - Goldsmiths Collegeg, London SE14

19 March 2010 - Calfornia Theater, San Jose

6 March 2010 - St Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Scripps Ranch

8 November 2009 - Royal Northern College of Music, Oxford Road, Manchester

10 October 2009 - St David's Church, Exeter

18 July 2009 - West Ottawa Performing Arts Center, Holland, Michigan

15 July 2009 - Salisbury Cathedral

4 July 2009 - Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford upon Avon

27 June 2009 - Windsor Parish Church

20 June 2009 - Billingshurst Leisure Centre

21 May 2009 - St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London

28 March 2009 - Chichester Cathedral

13 March 2009 - Clifton Cathedral, Bristol

6 December 2008 - Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa

23 November 2008 - St John of the Cross Catholic Church, Lemon Grove

15 November 2008 - Prichard Jones Hall, University of North Wales, Bangor

9 November 2008 - Kings College Chapel, Kings College School, South Road, Taunton TA1 3LA

25 October 2008 - Department of Music, Bristol University

11 October 2008 - St Mark's Church, Broomhill, Sheffield

1 August 2008 - Canford Summer School of Music, Dorset

9 June 2008 - Great Hall, Trent Building, Nottingham University

7 June 2008 - Barnfield Theatre, Exeter

18 May 2008 - Blandford Parish Church

17 May 2008 - Hove Parish Church

18 April 2008 - St Saviours Church, Woodbridge Road, Guildford GU1

8 March 2008 - Wakefield Cathedral

8 March 2008 - Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music Marylebone Road, London NW1

1 March 2008 - Fraser Noble Hall, Leicester University

23 February 2008 - Ladywood ARC, Ladywood, Birmingham

9 February 2008 - Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk

19 January 2008 - St Stephen’s Church, Bournemouth

9 December 2007 - Durham Community Church, New Hampshire

8 December 2007 - St Peter's Church, Buckingham

25 October 2007 - United Reformed Church Cambridge

29 September 2007 - Putney River Festival

1 July 2007 - St Nicholas Church, Guildford

23 June 2007 - Portsmouth

19 May 2007 - Guildford Cathedral

15 March 2007 - Cottenham Parish Church, Cambridge

26 September 2006 - St Martin in the Fields, London

21 April 2006 - Monkstown Church, Dublin

19 November 2005 - Dorking Halls

12 November 2005 - St Mary's Church, Aylesbury

16 October 2005 - Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge

25 April 2005 - Barbican, London

16 March 2005 - The Sage, Gateshead

17 April 2004 - Durham Cathedral  

12 July 2003 - Cambridge Corn Exchange