Repertoire Search

Judith Weir

Publisher: Chester Music

Missa Del Cid (1988)
commissioned by the BBC
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
1988
Duration
25 Minutes
Chorus
SAAATTTBBB
Availability


Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales
 
Reduced Score Reduced Score

Programme Note
Judith Weir Missa Del Cid (1988)
Missa del Cid was written in 1988, as part of BBC TV’s ‘Sound on Film’series, which showed the first performance of the piece in its entirety, together with a documentary about its creation. Subsequently, the work (originally written for ten solo voices) has reappeared in several other guises; performed live in concert, recorded on CD, and staged as part of an operatic evening about the era of the Crusades.

The text of the piece has two sources which at first may seem completely contradictory; a version of the Latin mass, and a short selection from the vast Spanish medieval epic poem Poema De Mio Cid which chronicles the life and times of the legendary warlord and outlaw Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, now known to us (via Hollywood and Charlton Heston) as El Cid.
The Cid, who lived in the second half of the eleventh century, was edged out of the court of Castile and at first fought on the side of the Moorish Emir of Saragossa ( the title ‘Cid’ is said to come from the the Arabic Sayyidi, ‘My lord’). But the Cid later changed sides, and began to besiege the Moorish city of Valencia. It is in this frame of mind that he is found in the poem, jubilantly menacing the Moors at every opportunity, whilst justifying his violent deeds as devotion to the Christian religion, ridding the world of infidels.

The Cid’s pugnacious Christianity is often hilarious in its extremity; but similar statements combining religious fervour and blood lust have often been heard, even in our own time,on the eve of battle. In Missa del Cid I set out to ‘showcase’ this absurd and dangerous contradiction in a piece which combines a few of the Cid’s exploits (related by a speaking ‘Evangelist’) with a choral mass setting.

The opening Kyrie takes place in the besieged city of Valencia; its long, yearning lines are marked ‘like a Muezzin’s call to prayer’.The Gloria , in a cheerful 6/8 rhythm, echoes the Cid’s relish for a good fight in God’s name. In the Credo, the Cid’s family go to church, and the Cid’s wife sings a passionate prayer for his safety. During the Sanctus, the Cid is visited in his dreams by the Angel Gabriel, who advises him to ride out into battle and certain victory. The battle takes place during the Benedictus; and the Agnus Dei simply indicates tombstones, surrounded by silence and desolation.

1. KYRIE

Evangelist
Here begins the story of the great deeds of the Cid of Vivar. His men were rich beyond all reckoning. After the Cid had left Saragossa, he passed through Huesa and the lands of Montalbán, and occupies the pass of Olocau. Then he moved towards the sea to start fighting there, for the sun rises in the east, and he turned in that direction.

The Cid took Jérica, Onda and Almenara, and he conquered the whole of the country round Burriana. He did all this with God’s help, and when he captured Murviedro he was sure the Creator was on his side. Within the walls of Valencia, great fear spread.

Chorus
The Moors cried: Mohammed!
Los moros Ilaman Mahómet
The Moors cried ‘Mohammed!’
The Christians cried:
Christ! Have mercy upon us

2. GLORIA

Evangelist
When the Cid saw this, he wondered and said: ‘I give Thee thanks, O Heavenly Father! We have settled in their land and are doing them all kinds of harm, eating their bread and drinking their wine, and they have every right to come and besiege us. We shall engage them in the open field and, as I put my trust in God, I am certain it will turn to our advantage’.

Day dawned over the Moorish camp, and soon the Moors began to beat their drums. This made the Cid happy, and he cried out, ‘What a good day this is going to be !’

Chorus
Gloria!
Glory in heaven, O Lord of the world!
Once I was poor and now I am rich
I win wars as it pleases God!
The Moors and the Christians fear me
Over the sea in Morocco
(Where the mosques are)
They are doubtless afraid
Of my mighty attacks

Glory to heaven and all of the saints!
We came to this land and are doing them
All kinds of terrible damage:
God and his holy mother be praised!

3. CREDO

Evangelist
The Cid ordered his knights to assemble and addressed them in these words: ‘Hear me, my brave men, do not let what I say discourage you. The worthy Abbot will ring for matins in San Pedro and will say the Mass of the Holy Trinity for us. When Mass has been said, we must prepare to ride into battle, for our days of grace are coming to an end.’ The bells were pealing out for matins when suddenly Doña imena, the Cid’s wife, prostrated herself on the altar steps, praying earnestly to God, in this fashion:

Chorus
Ya señor glorioso, padre que en cielo estás
O Glorious Lord, our Father in Heaven
fezist cielo e tierra e tercero el mar
Thou created the heavens and the earth, and after them the sea
fezist estrellas e luna e el sol pora escalantar
thou created the sun and the moon and the stars to keep us warm
prisist encarnación en Santa Maria Madre
Thou became incarnate in Thy Mother, Holy Mary
en Beleem aparecist como feu tu voluntad
and born in Bethlehem, as was thy will
pastores te glorificaron oviéronte a laudare
tres rreyes de Arabia te vinieron adorar
Melchior Gaspar e Balthasar
oro e tus e mirra ofrecieron
The shepherds worshipped and praised thee
Three kings from Arabia came to do thee homage
Melchior, Casper and Balthasar
and offered thee gold frankincense and myrrh.
slaveste a Jonás quando cayó en la mar
slavest a Daniel con le leones en la mala cárcel
por tierra andidiste trienta e dos años
monstrando los miraculos por én avemos qué fablar
del agua fezist vino e de la piendra pan
rresucitest a Lázaro
Thou didst save Jonah when he fell into the sea
and Daniel in the lions’ evil den.
Thou didst walk the earth for thirty-two years
performing miracles which will always be narrated.
Thou didst change water into wine and a stone into bread
Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead.

In the place called Golgotha, they put thee on a cross
They crucified two thieves with thee; one on either side.
Longinus was blind; he pierced thy side with his lance;
Thy blood flowed out, and stained his hands;
He opened his eyes and saw!

en el monumento resucitest, fust a los sanctos padres
que branteste las puertas e saqueste los sanctos padres
tu es rrey de los rreyes e de tod’el mudo padre
e ti adoro e CREDO!
e ruego a San Piedro que me ayude a rogar
por mio Cid el Campeador que Dios le curie de mal
quand oy nos partimos en vida nos faz juntar.
Thou didst rise again in the tomb
Thou didst go down to Hell
Thou didst break down its gates, and lead out the holy fathers.
Thou art King of Kings and Father of the world
I worship thee and believe in thee
I pray to St Peter to help me intercede for the Cid Campeador
that God may keep him from harm.
Though we must part today, may he reunite us in life.

Evangelist
and they parted with such pain as when the finger-nail is torn from the flesh.

4. SANCTUS

Evangelist
Later, the Cid lay down and fell into a deep and pleasant sleep. The angel Gabriel came to him in a dream and said:

Chorus
Ride out! Cavalgad! Sanctus! Holy Defender
Your mother bore you in a fortunate hour
God who gave you your soul will give you your victory.
All your sorrows will be turned to joy.

Evangelist
…and the Cid awoke, greatly pleased with his dream.


5. BENEDICTUS

Evangelist
There came from France a cleric called Don Jerónimo who said that, if he could have his fill of fighting the Moors, Christians need never mourn his death. The Cid was pleased to hear this, and he said ‘for the love of God, I shall establish a bishopric in Valencia and give it to this good Christian. Let us give thanks to God in heaven above for the help he bestows on us.’

The Cid’s forces had started arming, and now Bishop Jerónimo gave them absolution in these words: ‘I absolve from sin all those who die with their faces to the enemy; God will receive their souls’. And so they rode out into the attack, in the name of god and the Apostle St. James.

Chorus
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini
Blessed be he who dies with his face to the enemy
God will receive his soul.

By good fortune he killed two Moors at the first blow he struck
When the shaft of his lance broke, he laid hands on his sword.
Heavens, how well he fought!
A crowd of Moors surrounded him and heaved great blows
But never succeeded in piercing his armour
He embraced his shield, he lowered his lance,
He spurred his horse, his swift horse,
He laid about him with heart and soul,
Heavens, how well he fought!

6. AGNUS DEI

Evangelist
In a short time, one thousand three hundred Moors fell dead upon the field. The Cid spent three years taking those towns and conquering Moorish territory, sleeping by day and marching by night.

Chorus
Agnus Dei, Lamb of God
who takest away
the sins of the world
Dona nobis pacem.

In an arrangement by Andrew Parrott (2001)

Missa del Cid was written in 1988, as part of BBC TV’s ‘Sound on Film’series, which showed the first performance of the piece in its entirety, together with a documentary about its creation. Subsequently, the work (originally written for ten solo voices) has reappeared in several other guises; performed live in concert, recorded on CD, and staged as part of an operatic evening about the era of the Crusades. In tonight’s performance, the music takes yet another path, in a new arrangement for chorus and chamber orchestra by Andrew Parrott.

The text of the piece has two sources which at first may seem completely contradictory; a version of the Latin mass, and a short selection from the vast Spanish medieval epic poem Poema De Mio Cid which chronicles the life and times of the legendary warlord and outlaw Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, now known to us (via Hollywood and Charlton Heston) as El Cid.
The Cid, who lived in the second half of the eleventh century, was edged out of the court of Castile and at first fought on the side of the Moorish Emir of Saragossa ( the title ‘Cid’ is said to come from the the Arabic Sayyidi, ‘My lord’). But the Cid later changed sides, and began to besiege the Moorish city of Valencia. It is in this frame of mind that he is found in the poem, jubilantly menacing the Moors at every opportunity, whilst justifying his violent deeds as devotion to the Christian religion, ridding the world of infidels.

The Cid’s pugnacious Christianity is often hilarious in its extremity; but similar statements combining religious fervour and blood lust have often been heard, even in our own time,on the eve of battle. In Missa del Cid I set out to ‘showcase’ this absurd and dangerous contradiction in a piece which combines a few of the Cid’s exploits (related by a speaking ‘Evangelist’) with a choral mass setting.

The opening Kyrie takes place in the besieged city of Valencia; its long, yearning lines are marked ‘like a Muezzin’s call to prayer’.The Gloria , in a cheerful 6/8 rhythm, echoes the Cid’s relish for a good fight in God’s name. In the Credo, the Cid’s family go to church, and the Cid’s wife sings a passionate prayer for his safety. During the Sanctus, the Cid is visited in his dreams by the Angel Gabriel, who advises him to ride out into battle and certain victory. The battle takes place during the Benedictus; and the Agnus Dei simply indicates tombstones, surrounded by silence and desolation.

Andrew Parrott devised his arrangement without any input from me. He has redistributed the original ten vocal lines to a four part chorus (with minimal division) with a small orchestra of nine winds and lower strings playing the remaining material and doubling the chorus in the manner of an instrumental motet. No pitches or ‘textures’ have been added; the arrangement is completely faithful to the notes on my original page, whilst, I think, opening the piece up and sculpting its lines more clearly. I am delighted that the story of the Cid has taken yet another turn.

© Judith Weir

  • Ensemble
    Lontano
    Soloist(s)
    Linda Hirst / Odaline de la Martinez
    United:
  • Novello Records:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 11 MAY 2012
    ReSound Music Theatre, Manchester
  • 20 JUL 2011
    Festspielhaus, Bregenz, Austria
    Prague Philharmonic Choir
    Lukas Vasilek, conductor
  • 24 OCT 2009
    St John's Smith Square, London
    King William Singers and Orchestra
    Hilary Campbell, conductor
  • 18 JAN 2008
    Judith Weir: Telling the Tale
    St. Giles Cripplegate, London
    BBC Singers
    Elin Manahan-Thomas, soprano; David Hill, conductor
  • 26 NOV 2003
    Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
    St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield
    Exaudi Vocal Ensemble
    James Weeks, conductor
  • 19 MAR 2003
    Bellefield Hall Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh, USA
    University of Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra
    Roger Zahab, conductor
  • 28 NOV 2002
    Clare College Chapel, Cambridge
    Exaudi Vocal Ensemble
    James Weeks, conductor

    Other Dates:
    29 November - Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, London SW1
  • 21 JUN 2002
    British Opera Festival
    College of Marin, San Rafael, California, USA
    Contemporary Opera Marin
    Paul Smith, conductor

    Other Dates:
    23,27,29 June - College of Marin, San Rafael, California, USA
  • 31 JUL 2001
    Missa Del Cid World Premiere
    BBC Proms 2001
    Royal Albert Hall, London
    London Mozart Players / New London Chamber Choir
    Simon Callow, narrator; Andrew Parrott, conductor
  • 31 JUL 2001
    Missa Del Cid World Premiere
    BBC Proms 2001
    Royal Albert Hall
    London Mozart Players / New London Chamber Choir
    Simon Callow, narrator; Andrew Parrott, conductor

Close X

Newsletter Signup

Please fill in this form to receive regular news




Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2014 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.