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“This recording represents the core spirituality of my life. Since the early 1980’s, I have been writing choral music about spiritual unity – the unity that comes from knowing three basic things: 1) that there is one God for us all, 2) that the love of God is eternal and unconditional, and 3) that we are all Brothers and Sisters, eternal children of God and always loved unconditionally regardless of our actions in a given lifetime on Earth. Communicating this message, and related messages, became my main mission, and I proceeded to seek out or write texts that I thought would best communicate this message to my audiences, and set these texts to music. This recording contains several of my best compositions in this vein, including three of the six “universal masses” to date (the other three masses appear on Missa Universalis, Soundbrush 1002).” ROGER DAVIDSON

All compositions by Roger Davidson – Musica Universalis Publishing (BMI)

The New York Virtuoso Singers
Harold Rosenbaum, conductor

Jo-Anne Steinberg: clarinet
Matthew Dine: oboe, English horn
Seth Baer: bassoon

Recorded at the Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, January 13-15 2013
Recorded and edited by Adam Abeshouse

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ROGER DAVIDSON/Universal Sacred Music for Chorus: After spending all these years convincing us he's a happy go lucky piano man that enjoys Brazilian jazz, we find out Davidson is an ordained minister that does more than tickle the ivories at coffee houses. Really throwing back the curtain on his spiritual side, Davidson checks in with a religious choral work that's has the sound and feel of Bernstein at his most serious when he was tackling similar subjects. A deep work that was obviously meant to be lasting, when you are looking for some spiritual music that doesn't come from the Casio keyboard of a suburban divorcee on a mission, this is the stuff you need to step up to. A fine, refined work throughout.

Volume 38/Number 302
August 28, 2015
MIDWEST RECORD
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher

 

Missa Universalis IV (1992), for mixed chorus with English horn, was written to part of the Latin mass text – as were Missa Universalis I, II, III and V. For these masses I took the original Latin mass text and distilled it down to the core universal message, leaving out all references to Christ as God, to the Trinity, and to the idea of Jesus of Nazareth having been a sacrifice for our sins (“Agnus Dei”). What is left is the message of the unity of God, the holiness and omnipotence of God, and the glory of God. The music is meant to carry a spirit of universality, brotherhood/sisterhood and unconditional love to people of all backgrounds and faiths.

Missa Universalis V (2002), for mixed chorus with clarinet, utilizes the same basic text but with a few different excerpts from the original Latin mass, for the same fundamental message. The explanations for this piece are the same as for Missa Universalis IV.

Missa Universalis VI (2003), for mixed chorus with oboe and bassoon, was written to represent God as human beings have referred to God in five different faith traditions. Hence its subtitle: “The Names of God.” It also contains a Sanskrit mantra for peace, “Om Shanti,” – as the greatest peace ultimately comes from God, and from the light in our innermost selves, which I believe are born of God. The five religions represented here are Christianity (KYRIE), Judaism (ELOHIM), Islam (ALLAH), Hinduism (BRAHMA), and Zoroastrianism (AHURA MAZDA). The sound “Om” often precedes the names of God because it is considered to be a vibration of eternity and divinity. And with the inclusion of the mantra “Om Shanti,” this piece is also a prayer for the creation of lasting peace – the peace that can only come about when there is peace among the followers of all the world’s religions. Such a peace, I believe, will be established on Earth once human beings have learned that we are all Brothers and Sisters, children of one eternally loving God.

The next pieces on the program, three prayers for mixed chorus a cappella, written in 1982, were written in a language I found myself starting to write down the year before, called “Yawasiil” or “Language of Light.” Intuitively related to several existing world languages, it is nevertheless an original language with several thousand words in its vocabulary to date. Its purpose is to be a world language with a deep   connection between sound and meaning. Ayejael ne Yesu (“Prayer of Jesus”), is written to the text of what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer” but in a version I found in TOWARD THE LIGHT, my favorite spiritual book. Ayejael Cherokii (“Cherokee Prayer”) is a translation of a traditional Cherokee prayer I found carved on a piece of driftwood one day in northern New England. Ayejael Sufii (“Sufi Prayer”) is a translation of a great Sufi prayer, which I learned while working with a Sufi community at the time I wrote this piece.

The closing piece in this program is Amen, written in 1988. The melody and harmonies of this piece are derived from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s harpsichord piece “La Livri.” The text is simply “Amen,” a Hebrew word generally translated as “So be it,” but which is best understood as simply a word of affirmation. To me it also carries a prayer that God’s Will be done.     Roger Davidson

MISSA UNIVERSALIS IV:

I.KYRIE
Kyrie.

II. GLORIA
Gloria in excelsis deo! Gloria!

III. CREDO
Credo in unum deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Visibilium omnium et invisibilium. Credo in unum deum.

IV. SANCTUS
Sanctus dominus deus. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua, Osanna in excelsis!

V. KYRIE
Kyrie.  

 

MISSA UNIVERSALIS V:

I. KYRIE
Kyrie. Deus unus est. Kyrie.

II. GLORIA
Gloria in excelsis deo! Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis; Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te! Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Dominus Deus, rex coelestis, Pater omnipotens! Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus. In gloria tua, Amen.

III. CREDO
Credo in unum deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Visibilium omnium et invisibilium. Credo in unum deum.

IV. KYRIE
Kyrie. Deus unus est. Kyrie.  

 

MISSA UNIVERSALIS VI – “The Names of God”:

I. Om Kyrie Elohim, Kyrie Elohim, Kyrie Allah. Om Brahma Kyrie Elohim. Om Shanti.

II. Ahura Mazda, Allah, Brahma, Allah, Elohim. Allah, Brahma, Allah Elohim. Kyrie Brahma Shanti, Allah Elohim. Ahura Mazda, Allah, Brahma, Allah, Elohim. Om Shanti.

III. PEACE (Om Shanti)
Om Shanti. Om Shanti Brahma, Om Shanti Allah. Om Shanti Kyrie, Om Shanti Elohim. Om Shanti Ahura Mazda. Om Shanti.

IV. EPILOGUE
Om Shanti. Om Shanti Om. Kyrie Elohim Ahura Mazda Allah Brahma. Amen.  

AYEJAEL NE YESU
(in the Yawasiil language)
O Siingiil Paviim, alahha siiljamahünn leiin, Zondauum shaiin eivaa eloyan! Yohhael basyonga elahiim yeohu alahhan zaiim. Andaoe eloyan yahhal elaiin alahha siiljamahünn sangaii. Jayaal basyonga essii yajauur foraal basyan yahajiir; Humael basyonga zakharai i kamaal humaaye dahalei siilkayokh zakhaiir; Yohhai alanga basyiin yalzakhaiin I shael basyonga elahe zakakh. Pahel alsheiir alahhan hojai eloyan; Sohael I yanzakhaiil albaksamiiu eskai. Yael shaiin.
English translation:
PRAYER OF JESUS (“The Lord’s Prayer” as quoted in TOWARD THE LIGHT)
O Divine One… Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name; Lead us, till we enter Thy Kingdom; Thy Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; Forgive us our trespasses, and help us to forgive those who trespass against us; Guide us, when we are tempted, and deliver us from evil; Take the dead into Thy care; Protect and keep us all. Amen

AYEJAEL CHEROKII
(in the Yawasiil language)
O Siingeiil, Yasela basyonga ungu ayejiim, uulu wayel, I joaare eloyan kalaiim alahha sivai shungkorao, 'lahh alaii ne orieje, i 'lahha waliingu angalora.
English translation:
CHEROKEE PRAYER
Oh Great Spirit, Teach us to think quietly, To speak gently, And to hear your voice in the whispering breeze, in the songs of birds, and in the murmuring brook.

AYEJAEL SUFII:
(in the Yawasiil language)
Yala Siingiil, Fahazünn ne waii, essaiin i jamai, Yohhamiing amiin Ateo eskai sayiin iifohhem singeii, Lei foyiim ne yasiil honai, Siingeiil ne yohhaii.
English Translation:
SUFI PRAYER
Toward the One, The perfection of love, harmony and beauty, The only Being United with all the illuminated souls, Who form the embodiment of the Master, The Spirit of Guidance.

AMEN
Amen