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What does it mean to package music? The Opus Project aims to answer this question through explorations of sound and form. As a collection, Opus re-imagines the concept of housing music within a physical object.
Schubert's Mass: Music Box Edition, the project's first installment, introduces a contemporary audience to iconic classical pieces. Each one of six handcrafted music boxes plays a newly arranged movement of Schubert's Mass in G Major. The melodies, themselves intangible and ever-changing, are likened to cloud formations in each iteration.
The Opus Project's ultimate goal is to inspire new perspectives, bridge the separation between old and new, and capture that which makes music timeless.
The first movement in Schubert’s Mass, ‘Kyrie’ translates to “Lord have mercy”. Of all the interpretations of the traditional 6-song Mass, Schubert’s is known as the most peculiar. It is light, playful, almost directly contradictory to the heavy reverence of the lyrics. Cirrostratus clouds exist on the periphery; wisps of moisture in a cool atmosphere. They perfectly represent this light and airy tune that begins the performance of Schubert’s Mass.
‘Gloria’ is loud, jubilant and - as the name suggests - glorious. With grand crescendos and explosive sounds, Cumulonimbus is the most apt cloud-formation to capture the gravity of this second movement. Building atop each other in the sky, these massive clouds tower in magnificent pillars, connecting the earth to the great beyond.
‘Credo’ translates to “I believe”. This song marches along at a confident, even pace, a blanket of contradictory sounds which bring to mind the staccato spatterings of Stratocumulus clouds. This song is both static and full of motion - both gentle and powerful, a declaration as much as it is a comfort.
The Cumulus cloud forms just overhead, closer to civilization than almost any other cloud. A cloud that is within reach, and yet by far one of the most impressive to witness. It encapsulates the grandiosity of the Cumulonimbus while still existing in the realm of the everyday. This perfectly captures the lyrical progression of ‘Sanctus’, translating to “holy”.
Performed by a quartet, the first part of this movement recalls the overlapping voices of angels calling to each other from above. The faint curls of the Cirrus cloud have just enough substance to be seen, and manifest closer to the sun than any other cloud. A fitting formation for ‘Benedictus’, meaning “blessed”.
‘Agnus Dei’ ends the performance
on a dramatic note. The melody depicts a simultaneous plea for mercy, and cry for hope. The piercing voices of a solo soprano and bass
call out through the fog, evoking the ambiguous Altostratus cloud. This powerful melody closes the Mass with the acknowledgment of being lost, and the faith in being found.
06. Agnus Dei
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