From the Composer

Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Concert Notes | 1 comment

From the Composer

by Bryan Grosbach

In a world that is today continually assailed by tragedies and chaos, there is a desperate cry for peace resounding from every corner of the globe.

The text, “Dona Nobis Pacem,” is a phrase found in the Catholic Mass at the end of the ‘Agnus Dei’ section. This phrase, in Latin, translates into “Grant Us Peace.”  Although this text is most commonly known through the popular hymn sung often in canon, throughout time various composers have set it regularly, often when the threat of war or destruction was imminent or had already devastated the land and its peoples.  My own setting of this text follows that similar plea, seeing all of the trials we face on a daily basis from attacks on elementary schools to the misery wrought from the Caribbean to the Carolinas by Hurricane Matthews.

“Dona Nobis Pacem” uses two choirs, and is sung antiphonally (facing each other from a distance, creating a collision of sound in the middle of the two groups) to represent the cry for peace echoing from around the world.  The “Dona Nobis Pacem” text is interrupted in the middle of the work by the rest of the Agnus Dei script, which translates to “Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world…” followed again by the Dona Nobis Pacem phrase “…grant us peace.”

Special thanks goes to Taylor Martin and the Denver Pro Chorale, for once again championing one of my works.  I hope that through listening to this piece premiered beautifully by the DPC, you are able to –if only for a moment –find peace in your own life, and the strength to move forward through the pain and destruction we now face daily.”

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1 Comment

  1. I had the privilege of hearing the world debut of this performance, in the stunning setting of Christ the King Church this past October. Dona Nobis Pacem is the cry of multitudes across the world, a cry that transcends culture, country, and core beliefs. Grosbach’s composition powerfully encapsulates this cry, particularly through the swelling crescendoes of both antiphonal choirs at the climax of the piece…in unified breath, the masses erupt with, “GRANT US PEACE!” To say that moment brought goosebumps would be sheer understatement. Rather, in the glorious swells and eventual resolution of Grosbach’s piece, the audience was left breathless with a single hope: that the cry of the song, and the song of the multitudes, would be answered by the Divine. Thank you for sharing your beautiful piece with the world, Mr. Grosbach. Thank you, Mr. Martin, for making it possible for the DPC to share it with the world.

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