I'm a big fan of Marin Alsop. But last night her BBC Prom performance with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing her own sequence of the suites from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet was strangely unsatisfying. Tempi were pulled around, and rather than adding to the tension the wayward performance weakened it. When it finished I wanted some 'in your face' music making that was over the top, but which really worked. So as Marin Alsop was a pupil of Bernstein's I put on his 1971 recording of his own Mass, a work I don't listen to very often.
Is Mass Bernstein's unrecognised masterpeice? Or is it a failed experiment in using the vernacular and exploiting street chic? (But wasn't the 'parody mass' a legitimate renaissance musical form which exploited contemporary music such as L'homme arme?) My view used to be that Mass was simply a failed experiment, but I have to confess I am slowly moving towards the view that it may be a misunderstood masterpeice. I would be interested in readers views, and guidance on what to make of it. Just post your views using the comments facility at the foot of this post.
And while you ponder those questions, here's a video of Marie-Adele McArthur singing A simple song from Mass. Whatever you think of the work as a whole this is beautiful music.
Now take An Overgrown Path to Laminar flow region.
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