September 21, 2018

Beatitude Mass: For The Homeless (2006)

English Texts by William Luce


Click on titles for individual piano/vocal score purchases

Blessed 2’25″
KYRIE (Lord, Have Mercy) 2’09”
Evelyn’s Song 5’05”
GLORIA (Glory) 1’37”
Adam’s Song 6’18”
SANCTUS (Holy) 2’05”
Meditation and BENEDICTUS 2’15”
The Messenger 2’04”
AGNUS DEI (Lamb of God) 2’51”
Finale 2’05”
(Recording: San Jose Symphonic Choir: Leroy Kromm Conducting )

for soprano and baritone solo, SATB chorus, and full orchestra
winds, brass, percussion (2 players), harp, piano, strings
or soprano and baritone solo, SATB chorus, and chamber orchestra (7 players)
flute, clarinet, horn, percussion(1 player), piano, cello, and contrabass
Level: medium, 36’30”
Purchase Full Piano/Vocal Score
Purchase 11×17 Full Score for Chamber Orchestra Version
Purchase Parts for Chamber Orchestra Version

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Program Notes:

The idea for composing Beatitude Mass evolved from discussion with a friend, Fr. John Pedigo. This piece incorporates words from the Latin Mass Ordinary juxtaposed with English words by William Luce. The new texts are drawn from interviews that he and I conducted with people living in homeless shelters. We hope that a portion of all proceeds garnered from performances of Beatitude Mass will be used to raise funds for organizations that support people in need. All the composer’s royalties for this work will be donated to such an organization.

—Henry Mollicone


Like so many of Mollicone’s works, the “Beatitude Mass” draws on his exceptional musical gifts of melody and harmony to exalt the simple, anguished words of homeless people into haunting and moving expressions. Alternating with the “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Sanctus, “Benedictus” and “Agnus Dei,” it takes on the universality found in so many great musical settings of the Latin mass. It adds for its finale the “Salve Mater Misericordiae” and, like Brahms’ “German Requiem,” reprises the opening beatification, “Blessed are the poor.”



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Lyrics and Translation

Blessed are the poor,
blessed is the crowd of souls who by hard faith endure,
blessed is the air they breathe, the roadways they venture upon,
the dreams they dream, the tears they shed by streams of Babylon.
High in the willows their harps they hang, oh, pray that their vision be glorious—
hushed is the music that once they sang,
Oh, let them sing new psalms victorious.
Blessed are the eyes that see not a band of homeless, but a noble company.
Blessed is the hand of God that shakes out the stars like an autumn rain.
And gathers up the hearts of men like sheaves of golden grain.
Let them remember the face of God with psalms overflowing gratitude—
Strange and apart was the path they trod,
but now is their day of Beatitude.
Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Evelyn’s Song
My name is Evelyn— just call me Eve.
I’m a homeless woman with no more options for tomorrow
than endless wandering and sorrow—
tonight I have a place to sleep in from the cold and from the rain,
but what about the nights to come, the crushing tedium, the pain?
I dare not wonder where I’ll be a year from now—
that’s much too far to think or dream or question
if there’ll be security for me,
perhaps a shelter in some nameless town,
a building bleak and gray and tumble down,
a stale and dingy room for me, a narrow space,
a hiding place where I can be away from anyone but me—
A soiled and broken bed, a pillow for my head—
But wait, I may be dead by then.
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
et in terra pax hominibus
bonæ voluntatis.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
adoramus te, glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi propter
magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis,
Deus, Pater omnipotens,
Domine fili unigenite,
Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Qui sedes ad dexteram patris,
miserere nobis.
Suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus,
Quoniam tu solus Dominus,
Tu solus altissimus,
Jesu Christe.
Cum sancto spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth, peace to all those
of good will.
We praise thee, we bless thee,
we worship thee, we glorify thee.
We give thanks to thee
according to thy great glory.
Lord God, heavenly King,
God, the Father almighty.
Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten son.
Lord God, Lamb of God,
son of the Father.
Thou who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Receive our prayer.
For thou alone art the Lord,
thou alone art the most holy,
Thou alone art the most high,
Jesus Christ.
With the Holy Spirit
in the glory
of God the Father.
Adam’s Song
Amen, I sing amen to ev’ry prayer that’s being prayed,
amen, I sing amen—I’ve been to hell and back again,
amen, I sing amen, but never have I been afraid.
My name is Adam and I am lost between a hard place and a stone,
but I got plans and I got dreams to get to heaven on my own.
Long time ago I used to be a gard’ner for a wealthy man,
long time ago life wasn’t bad, life had a plan,
but I messed up somehow,
and now I’m back where it all began long time ago.
I live around, that’s how it is—and do I care?
Life is a show—but when my nights are void of stars
and cold sets in with streets of snow
and scavenging gets harder to do, I close my burning eyes,
and then I’m in that garden once again—
life wasn’t bad long time ago—and so I sing amen!
I sing amen to ev’ry prayer that’s being prayed!
Amen! I’ve been to hell and back again! Amen! I sing Amen!
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,
Dominus Deus sabaoth.
Pleni sunt cœli et terra
gloria tua,
Hosanna in excelsis.
Holy Holy, Holy,
Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are
full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine
Domini, Hosanna in excelsis.
Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The Messenger
Adam: I heard the holy Messenger who sang in heaven’s name,
the embers of my hope grew bright and set the night aflame.
Eve: He sang to me and suddenly, from out some nowhere place,
the rain of God fell softly down and cooled my fevered face.
Adam: By subway tracks I’ve counted sheep and scoffed at my misery.
Eve: I’ve cried myself to sleep with tears of agony.
Adam: Curled up in doorways, I have seen how lost any man can be.
Eve: But now the morning sings inside my head,
it doesn’t really matter what is past—
Adam: We’re standing in the house of God at last.
Eve: Oh tender shepherd, savior, angel, friend,
Adam: Oh garden at the soaring rainbow’s end.
Both: Be all about us, sweet and wild, in street or teaming mart,
A singing voice within the storm, a hymn within the heart.
Agnus Dei
qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God,
who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Grant us peace
Salve mater misericordiæ,
Mater Dei et mater veniæ,
Mater spei et mater gratiæ,
Mater plena, sanctæ lætitiæ,
O Maria.
Salve decus humani generis,
Salve virgo dignior ceteris,
Quæ virgines omnes transgraderis,
Et altius sedes in superis,
O Maria!
Salve mater misericordiæ
…Salve felix virgo puer puerpera:
Nam qui sedet in Patris dextera,
Cælum regens terram et æthera,
Intratua se clausit viscera,
O Maria.
Te creavit pater ingenitus,
Obum bravit te unigenitus,
Foecundavit te sanctus spiritus,
Tu us facta tota dividitus,
Te creaavit Deus mirabilem,
Te respexit ancilam himilem,
Te qaesivit sponsam amabilem,
Tibi nun quam facit consimilem.
Esto mater nostrum solacium;
Nostrum esto tu virgo gaudium;
Et nos tandem post hoc exsilium,
Laetos iunge choris caelestium.
Salve mater misericordiae…
Hail mother of mercy,
Mother of God and mother of pity,
Mother of hope and mother of grace,
Mother full of holy joy,
O Mary.
Hail honor of the human race,
Hail virgin worthier than all,
Who dost excel all virgins,
And sitteth higher than all others in heaven,
O Mary.
Hail mother of mercy
Hail happy virgin and mother:
For he who sits at the Father’s right hand,
Ruling heaven, earth and sky,
Was borne in thy womb,
O Mary.
The eternal Father created thee,
The only begotten son overshadowed thee,
Of the Holy Ghost thou did conceive,
Thou art all made by god,
God made thee wonderful,
He looked upon his lowly handmaid,
He sought thee to be the mother of his son,
He made no other like thee.
Mother be our comfort;
Virgin, be our joy;
And may we after this exile,
Join thee among the choir of heaven.
Hail mother of mercy…
Blessed are the poor,
blessed those who have no roof no room,
but still endure—
Blessed are their days to come,
for theirs is the kingdom of light—
And nevermore can it be utter night,
for theirs is the kingdom of light!

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