IFFERENT COMPOSERS write music for different reasons. The most common reason I find myself composing is because I have a need for music for a particular occasion or part of the Mass.
Several years ago, I was directing music at a small parish in Pennsylvania, and I was searching for a good piece of choral music for use at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. I needed a choir piece during the washing of feet and, since we adopted the practice of using no organ until the Gloria on Easter Vigil, it had to be a cappella and simple enough for a small amateur choir.
To that end, I composed Mandatum novum, a piece based on the Gregorian antiphon of the same name. It is for cantor, choir, and congregation, featuring a “call and response” antiphon for the main portion, and a second antiphon for choir only which follows two of the verses. The antiphon and verses themselves are taken directly from the text provided for us in the Roman Missal, so this is a great opportunity to sing the Mass instead of singing at Mass.
I hope that others are able to make use of this piece and that it furthers the solemnity of the most sacred season of the year.