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Missa Prolationem

Kurt Knecht, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Missa Prolationem is a setting of the traditional Latin Ordinary mass text that seeks to explore counterpoint in the context of metric problems. Though Ockeghem's specific contrapuntal techniques were not utilized, his Missa Prolationem served as the original inspiration for this setting of the mass. Each movement attempts to explore a specific problem created by the interaction of the counterpoint and meter. In the Kyrie, contrapuntal passages in multiple meters are both superimposed and juxtaposed. The Gloria includes a triple fugue in which each subject is in a different time signature. The Credo is a series of canons at descending intervals and includes double canons, metric canons, and inversion canons. The Sanctus explores the possibility of cross cutting divergent meters and moods. The Agnus Dei divides the ensemble into various groups and explores non-imitative counterpoint with each group functioning in its own time signature.^ In addition to its rigorous formal organization, the Missa Prolationem is a highly expressive work that makes use of the text painting and symbolism which have long been associated with the Western tradition in Mass settings. Included among the techniques utilized are aleatoric sections in the Gloria to express exuberance, a symbolic addition of voices and gradual motion toward unity in the Credo, and the withholding of a unified time signature until the last measures of the Agnus Dei to emphasize the request for peace in the text.^ The work was written with specific performers in mind. Accordingly, the forces include soloists, mixed chorus, string quartet, and organ.^

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Recommended Citation

Knecht, Kurt, "Missa Prolationem" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3369358.