NOTEworthy: March 1

This Week’s Music:

“The Ground”

by Ola Gjielo

Ola Gjielo is a Norwegian composer and pianist, living in the United States.  He is incredibly popular in the world of choral music, and his scores are often reminiscent of film score music. “The Ground” comes from Gjielo’s Sunrise Mass.  The composer writes of this piece, “something I like to do these days; sometimes using the choir as an accompaniment for the piano, functioning almost as a string orchestra, as a bed of warm and evocative sound.”  Gjielo’s works tend to not focus on text in the traditional ways, preferring instead to create an atmosphere through voices. However, I find his selection of texts particularly interesting in this work. He borrows the texts for this piece from various parts of the mass – “Sanctus,” “Benedictus,” and “Agnus Dei.”  It surely would’ve been far simpler, if the text didn’t matter, to simply copy-paste a prayer of the mass in its entirety onto the music. To me, this all points toward “The Ground” as a personal telling of what grounds us as believers: We are surrounded by God’s glory, we are greatly blessed, and we are fully forgiven.

– Andy Eaton