Programme Note

Mass takes as its starting point the idea of the paraphrase mass, a Renaissance genre in which existing pieces of music were used as the basis of the composition of a mass. In the present piece, I have made reference to a large number of different composers. Sometimes this takes the form of literal quotations, such as the figure at the opening of ‘Der Leiermann’ from Schubert’s Winterreise which appears at several points; sometimes the references are much more abstract, such as the ostinato-based organ interlude, which suggests the (also ostinato-based) organ interlude in Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass. The other composers referenced are Britten, Palestrina, Ravel, Schoenberg and Wagner. Knowledge of these references, however, is at no point essential to an understanding of the music, which is intended to cohere on its own terms.

‘Delightful organ works by Edward Nesbit and Ben Comeau both displayed strong musical profiles – which is often not the case on such occasions, when organ interludes are used as generically contrasting material while the choir takes a break.’ (Judith Weir,, 12th January 2016)

Year: 2014
Duration: 25′
Instrumentation: Soprano, SATB, Organ


Recording with Ruby Hughes, The Chapel Choir of King’s College London conducted by Joseph Fort forthcoming on Delphian Records.


16th November 2018
Raphaela Papadakis (Soprano), Matthew Jorysz (Organ), The Choir of King’s College London, Joseph Fort (Conductor)
KCL Chapel

12th January 2016
Ben Comeau (Organ)
St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge (Interlude)