Make it up as you go along, lauda, laude

Our Easter anthem this year is a venerable old barn-burner, the “Gloria” from “Mozart’s Twelfth Mass.” It’s not by Mozart at all—it was written by a guy named Wenzel Müller—but under Mozart’s name it was a big church choir hit in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Loud, bright, common-time C-major: what’s not to like? Here’s a typical passage towards the end:


The edition in our choral library—which appears to date from just after the Crucifixion—has a typo in this bit. The alto line reads:


Here’s how slap-happy church music directors tend to get during the onslaught of Holy Week: I was curious enough to take time out of rehearsal to see what this passage would sound like if all the parts were rewritten in 7/8:


Instant Chichester Psalms! Next week’s episode: how to make Beach Boys background vocals by swapping the bass and alto parts of Protestant hymns.

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