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CD171  Music by Giancarlo Aquilanti


Music by Giancarlo Aquilanti

Stanford Chamber Chorale
& Philharmonia

Stephen M. Sano, conductor

  • Notes in English and Italian
  • Complete texts
  • 74'05" total playing time

CD171     $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing


Mass: A Celebration of Life (1989, rev. 2007)
Georgia Dunn, soprano   •   Mark Bonney, tenor
KYRIE 1. Kyrie eleison
  2. Christe eleison
  3. Kyrie eleison
GLORIA 4. Gloria in excelsis Deo ...
  5. Laudamus te ...
  6. Domine Deus ...
  7. Qui tollis peccata mundi ...
  8. Amen.
  9. Intermezzo for Strings
SANCTUS 10. Sanctus ...
  11. Pleni sunt cœli ...
  12. Hosanna in excelsis ...
  13. Agnus Dei ...
Ubi Caritas (2007)
Magnificat (2006)
Kimberly Johnson, soprano   •   Jessica Hu, alto
Mark Bonney, tenor   •   Sylvan Baca, bass
  15. Magnficat anima mea ...
  16. Et exultavit ...
  17. Misericordia ejus ...
  18. Fecit potentiam ...
  19. Et exaltavit humiles ...
  20. Esurientes implevit ...
  21. Gloria Patri ...

Notes by the Composer

Mass: A Celebration of Life

This composition is dedicated to Massimo Archetti. He was one of my dearest friends whose life was cut short by a car accident. He was twenty-nine years old. His death left a great gap in my life; for all that was both unsaid and not done during the short journey we experienced together. So this Mass came to fill that gap and to nurture his memory through the voices of the choir in which we both sang. The front page of the score reads:

Dedicated to Massimo Archetti
Friend of the days happened
Advisor of tomorrow

Mass: A Celebration of Life was originally written in 1989 for soloists, choir, piano and percussion. In the following fifteen years it went through several revisions - the addition of the Intermezzo for Strings, the omission of parts that were no longer necessary to the composition - which at the end saw two different orchestrations: a version for chamber orchestra and the other for full orchestra. The entire Mass is based on joyful, syncopated rhythms: the melodic lines are straightforward, especially in the soprano and tenor solo parts. The choral part is very candid, using traditional four-part writing. The orchestration is at times thick, relying heavily on the percussion instruments. The Intermezzo contrasts with the rest of the composition by using intricate contra[untal writing for divided string orchestra.

Ubi Caritas

Ubi Caritas was written in November of 2007. The text echoes a pre-existing liturgical hymn that celebrates the signficance of charity as the recepticle of God's love.

The soothing flow of the music enlightens the meaning of the text. A tuneful melody is passed throughout the four voices with a straightforward hamonization. Tension is created by the extensive use of suspensions and added tones usch as sevenths and ninths to the pure major and minor triads. The piece begins in a tranquil mood, and slowly builds up to the high point where the text Ubi Caritas is repeated. The serene atmosphere of the opening is re-established in the last section.

This composition was commissioned by Robert Schuneman for the Stanford Chamber Chorale.


In Italian religious literature, in which life and culture are dominated by male figures, the Virgin Mary stands out as a docile woman who communicates a range of emotions that leave no space for fear. The highest expression of her unconditional love is conveyed in the words Magnificat anima mea Dominum which she pronounces after she is informed that, indeed, she will become the mother of God. From the composer's human and musical perspective Mary is perceived f