Mario Lavista’s “Missa Brevis” and “Stabat Mater”; James MacMillan’s “Sun-Dogs”
Produced in 2012, the IUMusic/LAMC CD includes “Missa Brevis” and “Stabat Mater by distinguished Mexican composer Mario Lavista and “Sun-Dogs” by the preeminent Scottish composer James MacMillan. All three works were performed, premiered, and recorded by the IU Jacobs School of Music’s Contemporary Vocal Ensemble under the direction of music director Carmen-Helena Téllez.
The idea for Mario Lavista’s Missa Brevis ad Consolationis Dominam Nostram (1994-95) originated during a casual conversation between the composer and the conductor at the Seventh Latin American Music Festival of Caracas in 1993, as the composer described his practice of composing in close collaboration with performers. Carmen-Helena Téllez offered Lavista an opportunity to work with the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and the Missa was premiered at Indiana University, Bloomington, on April 11, 1995. Funding support for this project was from the U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture, a collaboration between the Mexican Government and the Rockefeller Foundation to generate bi-national art works.
Lavista’s Stabat Mater is a funeral ode to a friend, joining a collection of several other memorial works in the composer’s output, including Lamento a la muerte de Raul Lavista, 1981; Responsorio in memoriam Rodolfo Halffter, 1988; Lacrymosa (To the Memory of Gerhart Muench), 1994; and Lamento (To the Memory of my Grandmother), 1996. The work was commissioned by the Spanish cello ensemble Conjunto Ibérico, directed by Elías Arizcuren, who premièred it in Europe in 2005 in collaboration with Cappella Amsterdam under conductor Daniel Reuss. The American première took place at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fullerton Hall, with the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble under Carmen-Helena Téllez in February 2010.
In spite of the religious impetus that informs most of MacMillan’s other choral works, Sun-Dogs is non-liturgical. Instead, the text is an allegory of the origin and charisma of the religious brotherhood founded by St. Dominic, the Order of the Preachers, to which MacMillan belongs as a Tertiary. The work was commissioned by a consortium including the IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the Three Choirs Festival (United Kingdom), ZaterdagMatinee (Netherlands), and Soundstreams (Canada). The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble premiered the work on August 6, 2006, during a festival dedicated to the relationship of text and music attended by the composer.
5. Agnus Dei
6. Mario Lavista, Stabat Mater for chorus and cello ensemble
7. First Saw Them
8. Domini canes
9. I Saw Them Leading
10. Sometimes, Like Tobias
11. If You Turn Down the Offerings