Sunday Playlist: Ugis Praulinš : Missa Rigensis

"Music and love explain everything" — Ugis Praulinš

The Baltic republics –  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania each have a very rich tradition of folk and choral music. It seems that every important occasion be it private or public is accompanied by singing. Their history of occupation accounts for the centrality of singing in the Baltic nations’ musical, social, and ritual life. They were under occupation for most of their history and in response a huge repertory of folk songs developed, during the latter half of the nineteenth century during what historians now call the "First National Reawakening" mass song festivals which persist to this day were established in all three countries and these reinforced the identities and nationalist consciousness of the three lands. During the 1980s (the "Singing Revolution")  these festivals played the same role as they had in the nineteenth century strenghtening the sense of national and cultural identity and strenghtening political and cultural resistance to the Soviets.

The importance of singing in general and choral music in particular coupled with a very much alive folk tradition has led composers in each country to include folk and early music amongst a rich and often unconventional list of sources of inspiration. This breadth of sources of inspiration can certainly be heard in the music of Ugis Praulinš the composer of the Missa Rigensis (Riga Mass).

Ugis Praulinš

Ugis PraulinšAs a child the Latvian composer Ugis Praulinš who was born in 1957 sang as a member of the Riga Dom Boys’ Choir (Riga Cathedral Boys’ Choir, under the Communists it was known as the "Choir of the Emils Darzinš Music School"). After school he attended the Music Academy in Riga where he leavened his formal studies in composition by playing  in rock bands during the 1970s and 1980s. His subsequent career has included a period at Latvian Radio where did pioneering work as a sound engineer with folk music, composing soundtracks for film and television, "crossover" music, a full-lenght ballet, and concert music. This broad range of experience of influences  led him to write a strikingly diverse and resourceful score for the Missa Rigensis.

Missa Rigensis

Praulinš’s  intention when he wrote the Missa Rigensis was to write a Mass ‘without overwhelming force or volume’, that was suitable both to concert and liturgical performance, and most importantly of all was true to the spirit of the great Renaissance Masses. In my opinion he’s succeeded, his setting of the text is both respectful and imaginative and lends an immediacy and freshness to the music. His declamatory Kyrie is both timeless and modern and ends with a powerfully affecting sotto voce keening. The Gloria has a syncopated build-up that owes quite as much to the rock music of Praulinš’s youth as it does to renaissance polyphon while the antiphonal shifts between ethereal solo  and chorus leading upto full strenght declamation in the Domine Deus is some of the most affecting and effective modern music I have ever heard.  The joyful Quoniam tu solus ends with melismatic Amens. The Credo is astonishing it opens with powerfully rythmical statement of belief progressing through baroque era inspired roulades, chant-like canons, sighs of anguish at passus est, while the ostinato of the Crucifixus represents the driving in of the nails to great effect. It ends with a carillion supported by voices fervently whispering the final lines. The sense of an awed hush at the start of the all-too-brief Sanctus starts and the jubilant Hosannas that characterise it the piece are to my mind very effective. The Agnus Dei is resolved only by Actus caritatis bringing the Mass to a strangely numinous if beautiful end.

I’ve set up the playlist for Praulinš’s Missa Rigensis below so that you can listen to it either as a playlist or as individual tracks together with the relevant texts. Enjoy :-).


Complete Playlist – click the player opposite to listen to the Mass as a complete playlist.


Click the players in the right-hand column below to listen to the individual movements.
Movement 1: Kyrie eleison

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-1-Kyrie-eleison.mp3|titles=01. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 1- Kyrie eleison]

Movement 2a: 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.

Domine Deus, rex caelestis …

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-2a-Gloria.mp3|titles=02. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 2a- Gloria]

Movement 2b: Domine Deus

Domine Deus, rex caelestis,

Deus Pater omnipotens,

Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe,

Domine Deus, agnus Dei, Filius Patris,

qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis;

suscipe deprecationem nostram;

qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

miserere nobis.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-2b-Domine-Deus.mp3|titles=03. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 2b- Domine Deus]

Movement 2c: Quoniam tu solus sanctus

Quoniam tu solus sanctus. Tu solus Dominus.

Tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe.

Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris.


[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-2c-Quoniam-tu-solus-sanctus.mp3|titles=04. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 2c- Quoniam tu solus sanctus]

Movement 3a: Credo in unum Deum

Credo in unum Deum,

Patrem omnipotentem,

factorem caeli et terrae,

visibilium omnium, et invisibilium.

Credo in unum Dominum Jesum Christum,

Filium Dei unigenitum,

et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-3a-Credo-in-unum-Deum.mp3|titles=05. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 3a- Credo in unum Deum]

 Movement 3b: Deum de Deo

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,

Deum verum de Deo vero,

genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri,

per quem omnia facta sunt.

Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram

salutem descendit de caelis, et incarnatus est

de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virgine,

et homo factus est.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-3b-Deum-de-Deo.mp3|titles=06. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 3b- Deum de Deo]

 Movement 3c: Crucifixus

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis:

sub Pontio Pilato passus est.

Et resurrexit tertia die,

secundum scripturas.

Et ascendit in caelum:

sedet ad dexteram Patris.

Et iterum venturus est cum gloria,

iudicare vivos et mortuos:

cuius regni non erit finis.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-3c-Crucifixus.mp3|titles=07. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 3c- Crucifixus]

Movement 3d: Credo in Spiritum Sanctum

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum

et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit,

qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur

et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.

Credo in unam sanctam catholicam

et apostolicam ecclesiam.

Confiteor unum baptisma

in remissionem peccatorum.

Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum,

et vitam venturi saeculi.


[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-3d-Credo-in-Spiritum-Sanctum.mp3|titles=08. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 3d- Credo in Spiritum Sanctum]

Movement 4: Sanctus

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Hosanna in excelsis.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-4-Sanctus.mp3|titles=09. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 4- Sanctus]

Movement 5: Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis,

dona nobis pacem.

Movement 5: Actus caritatis

Domine Deus, amo te super omnia

proximum meum propter te,

quia tu es summum, infinitum, et perfectissimum bonum,

omni dilectione dignum.

In hac caritate vivere et mori statuo. Amen.

[audio:š-Missa-Rigensis-Movement-5-Agnus-Dei.mp3|titles=10. Praulinš- Missa Rigensis – Movement 5- Agnus Dei]

2 thoughts on “Sunday Playlist: Ugis Praulinš : Missa Rigensis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *