Story Behind the "Mass of the Immaculate Conception"
At the beginning of this year, I started taking the text for the new mass parts to adoration with me. I was hoping to get to know the new mass parts, especially after hearing how much it would transform the way we pray to God in Mass.
I have been involved as a liturgical minister since 1997, so upon reading the text, it was natural to gravitate toward reading the text that was often sung (the Gloria, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Agnus Dei).
While reading through the Gloria, I had a vision of the angels waiting in anticipation as the Christ child was about to be born. It had to sound "glorious".
In adoration, while I was picturing all of this, the thought came of there being tension that starts the Gloria, and then a dramatic pause, as if the angel took a breath and had a moment of silence when Christ was born. Then, the "glorious" release after the pause as they sung, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will!"
This was the inspiration that started the path of writing the rest of the mass parts out. All the settings are based off of the Gloria.
The second song that was written was the Alleluia (the Gospel Acclamation). It is an exact copy of the Gloria refrain. I wanted the Alleluia to have the same theme (three eight notes after a dramatic pause, and then the same melody). This way, that particular musical theme would be abstained during the season of Lent when there is the omission of the Gloria and the Alleluia.
The Great Amen was written after that. The Great Amen should be the pinnacle of the Eucharistic Prayer settings so it needed to sound "grand" and "uplifting". After it was written, I took the first part of the Great Amen and used it as the ending of the Gloria. This way, the Gloria contains every musical phrase of the new mass parts.
The Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and the Agnus Dei have a similar feel to them. The Agnus Dei has a musical phrase that starts verse 1 and 3 in the Gloria.
In writing the Sanctus, I really wanted to write something did something similar in building it up, but using the first two "holies" to lead to "Holy Lord, God of Hosts!"