- Missa parvula, for unison treble chrous & organ
- Mass, for SATB chorus & organ with optional 2nd organ, J. 333
- Veni Creator Spiritus, for organ, J. 332
- Dum complerentur, for chorus & optional organ
- Reliqui Domum Meum, for organ solo, J. 281
- Veni Sancte Spiritus, for chorus & optional organ
The works on this Hyperion Peter Maxwell Davies disc are all new; outside of the short organ work "Reliqui domum meum" composed in 1996, all of this music was composed in the opening years of the twenty-first century. The "Missa parvula" is a radiant and numinous piece scored for mostly unison children's voices and organ, whereas Maxwell Davies' setting of the "Mass" calls for full chorus and two organs and is in a somewhat tougher idiom; yet it is not without its moments of loveliness. There are two pieces for chorus alone, "Dum complerentur" and "Veni Sancti Spiritus," that demonstrate what a fine choir Westminster Cathedral has and the splendid acoustics in the cathedral itself. Hyperion's recording engineers are to be applauded for their matchless rendering of these performances; one can actually hear the decay of the voices disappearing into the nave of the cathedral. Roderic Dunnett's liner notes dwell confusingly on some aspects of Maxwell Davies' deep appreciation of sixteenth century music. You can hear some of that, and the possible influence of earlier English church music, plainchant, Stravinsky's setting of the Mass and perhaps other sources of Maxwell Davies' inspiration in these works. It's surprising how French some of this sounds; Maxwell Davies' "Mass" is not terribly far from the sound world of Messiaen and Alain in places. But these aspects of the work are mere ingredients in a very tasty and musically metaphysical broth. This excellent new disc of Maxwell Davies' new music offers beauty, spirituality, and challenge in equal measure.