While I've written all sorts of violacentric music for different occasions, and while there are memorial pieces that feature the viola (Hindemith's Trauermusik, Partos' Yizkor, and many other examples), it occurred to me that there wasn't a funeral/memorial piece dedicated specifically to the dead *violist*. Hey, we're all going to get there some day. (And no, you don't move him back a stand, tsk.)
So I wrote The South Hadley Mass; A Short Requiem for the Dead Violist. For four violas (what violist doesn't know four other violists?!), it contains four of the most universal elements of the traditional mass: Introit (Requiem Aeternum), Dies Irae, Libera Me, and Lux Aeterna. At only twelve-plus minutes, this is perhaps the quickest overview of this form yet written, and if that's still too long, the Libera Me (third section) can be excerpted from the mass and performed alone. (I plan on making a version of the Libera Me for viola and piano/organ.) Why the name, South Hadley Mass? I knew it had to be when six years ago, we moved to... South Hadley, Mass.
I hope you enjoy the music, which I hope you may never need, but if you do, see details under the video.
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