We're performing three pieces: the Mozart Great Mass in C Minor, K. 427; Stephen Paulus's Mass for a Sacred Place; and an anthem by William Strickland, Jubilate Deo. Also, another local chorus, the Woodley Ensemble, will perform Ralph Vaughan Williams's Mass in G Minor.
The Paulus is a world premiere, commissioned by and written specifically for the CCS. It's pretty good, though perhaps a bit too polytonal for some people. The Mozart is very nice, and easier for me to practice than the Paulus, because I have a recording of it. I've found that following the score while I listen to the CD is the best way for me to practice at home. Or on the bus, as I did this morning. And I've been listening to the CD while I work out in the morning, even though I can't follow the score or sing along. Just knowing what it's supposed to sound like is a real boost.
Unfortunately, that's not an option for the Paulus, because it's never been recorded. Hell, it's never been performed. We'll record our performance, and there are plans afoot to release it commercially, which is nice, but really doesn't do me any good right now.
The reason we're doing the Strickland -- which unlike everything else on the program is not a mass -- is that the fund that allows us to commission pieces was endowed by the family of William Strickland, who was the principal guest conductor of the CSS during World War II. It's not a particularly exciting piece in my opinion, but performing it now is a nice way to honor the man whose bequest made the Paulus commission possible.
Four more rehearsals to go! I think I'll be ready.