from Mass of a Troubled Time
Lyrics ByLatin Liturgical Text
Music ByBrian A. Schmidt
Edited ByGary R. Schwartzhoff
This Mass setting was composed as a musical reflection on our human struggles in the world today. The emotional and creative impulse came in the weeks following the death of my grandmother, Margaret C. Urbach. I owe much to her for her faith, positive outlook on life, and encouragement of my musical growth.
I composed Psalm 23 first and the rest of the Mass was built around this. With Psalm 23 as a centerpiece, the entire piece is intended to convey a message of hope and peace even amidst our most troubling times.
There are musical influences embedded in this work that cross many time periods and cultures, and this reflects my belief in the universal power of the Mass texts. General themes such as “have mercy” and “take away the sins of the world” are set to chant like melodies in different styles, signifying that these prayers bond together with the prayers of all people seeking peace in the world. The Gloria, while energetic, is not as joyous as most settings of this text in recognition of evils that go unnoticed in our rigorously paced lives. The Sanctus also echoes uncertainty and doubt before resolving to a more buoyant and joyful sound. Despite the troubling times and uncertainty in our world, we are encouraged to believe that there is hope for peace. With peace and hope, we can bond together the many cultures and spiritual beliefs in our world.