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Leonard Bernstein: Mass ()

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Renewed interest in Leonard Bernstein's Mass (1971) may be related to a resurgence of political unrest, religious questioning, and social tensions in the first decade of the twenty first century, or it may be due merely to baby-boomer nostalgia. The Vietnam war, the sexual revolution, the ecumenical movement, and other issues of the day, as commented on by Bernstein and co-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, definitively marked Mass as a period piece, along with its setting of the pre-Vatican II Latin text of the Roman Catholic liturgy. Musically, too, this elaborate theater piece is dated, with its fairly na´ve mix of cheeky pop songs, angry urban blues, raucous circus band marches, and pious folk songs with discordant quadraphonic tapes, rigorous canons, austere chorales, and twelve-tone meditations: it overflows with the eclecticism that was the era's answer to the fading avant-garde. Even at the time, some critics wondered if such a topical work could be relevant for future performances. By the end of the... Hide synopsis

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