Nicola Campogrande (*1969) Piccola messa italiana
[mix ch,orch] 2013 Duration: 10'
choir: SATB – orchestra: 220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168 – perc(1) – org – str
World premiere: Freudenstadt, Evangelische Stadtkirche, February 1, 2014
Commissioned by the Universities of Sacred Music Tübingen & Rottenburg
Even in the most austere sacred music, in the most rigorous liturgical pieces, Italian music has always gifted the ears with a special luminosity. The particularly singable vocal lines, the harmonies that always reserve some surprises, the counterpoint that is never a display of knowledge but a means to pursue beauty have been for centuries the distinctive sign of Italian composers. And even today it is something we grow up with, that comes to us naturally, spontaneously, perhaps because we associate it with the wonder of our baroque churches or the perfect balance of the neoclassical ones, or again, with the joy that resides in the churches designed and built in recent years.
So, when I was commissioned to write this short Mass, it was normal for me to connect to such a strong, colorful tradition, and exploiting my language, I wrote a score where spirituality flows serene, joyful, at times marked by enthusiasm as in the Gloria or in the Sanctus; and even the concluding Agnus Dei, immersed in a rarefied tension, ultimately reaches the ears like a sweet whisper, a caress, an embrace.
I'm glad that the choirs who have performed it tell me that my Piccola messa italiana “is enjoyable to sing”. And I will be happy to continue listening to it, in the concert hall and in churches, where it can certainly be used in a liturgical function as well.
(Nicola Campogrande, February 2023)