Off I went to the concert.
A timely note was struck by the Rector of St James's Spanish Place, when he said that the Choir would be the 'lead choir' at the Beatification of Newman in Coventry, 'a great day for us all.' It's at times like that that you realise how infrequently you hear anything simply positive about the forthcoming Papal Visit. Things are looking very good then on the musical front. James MacMillan plus The Oratory Schola in Coventry can only be a good thing.
Now for the nitty gritty. The Kyrie was printed in the programme, in the everyday parish version, so keen are they for it to be used. As I went precisely to check it out for possible use, this could not have been more useful.
I wondered listening to the work whether this was how it was when people heard cantus firmus masses in the past. 'Ah that introit,' etc.
In the acoustic of Spanish Place the wash of semitones was very effective and ethereal. In the bone dry conditions of Blackfen, they might just be off-putting dissonances. The bluesy moments were novel however.
The Mass was greeted with a rapturous reception by the audience and should certainly get future concert performances. I'll buy a copy from Peters Edition and see what folks think about using it liturgically. I think that a congregation would need to be secure singing Mass VIII, before they sang it with this accompaniment.