About Ionian Mass - Overview

Ionian Mass is scored for SATB choir (with some divisi) and piano.

The duration is around 20 minutes.

Ian writes:

" There are very many wonderful settings of the text of the Mass, going back centuries, and many choristers and listeners, regardless of their religious beliefs, or lack of them, have a deep-seated appreciation for the structure and rhythms of these works and for the sense of wonder they convey. 

I wondered if there was a way to use the same basic structure, but with a different text, one that reflected my own, humanistic, beliefs, whilst retaining an appropriate sense of humility and awe.

After much searching I was not able to find exactly the text I wanted and so decided to create one from scratch. I think it serves my purpose and I hope it makes up for any shortcomings as poetry by being, at least, honest.

The title of the work was inspired by a YouTube clip of Carl Sagan's TV series Cosmos in which he describes the birth of science in the work of philosophers living in ancient Ionia. These pre-Socratic philosophers rejected supernatural explanations of natural phenomena and believed that the behaviour of the natural world might be studied and understood. "Ionian" is also the name of a musical mode, a coincidence which I like very much and which helped to shape the harmonic language of the piece, particularly the first movement.

Although I have not used a religious text it was very important to me that people of faith would not be disturbed or affronted by the work. So far reaction to it has been entirely positive. "

Premiere

Ionian Mass was premiered on November 24th 2018 in West Malling, Kent by Vox Populi conducted by James Meaders. .

Ian Assersohn's Ionian Mass

Vocal scores are available to buy or hire