Mass Goes Bluegrass
The ancient structure of the Catholic Mass has sprung up in so many musical incarnations over the centuries that it's somewhat surprising that no one had thought of a bluegrass Mass. Granted, that mandolin- and fiddle-fueled genre just came down from the Appalachians around World War II. And one can understand why its primarily Protestant practitioners might not look to the rituals of the Romans for inspiration....Sounds interesting, no?
The work, "The World Beloved," received its premiere Friday night at Stillwater's Trinity Lutheran Church, and it proved an admirable undertaking that struck a fairly good balance between the solemnity of the structure and the effervescent spirit of mountain music....
Somewhat surprisingly, the Mass was most successful when at its simplest: when fiddler Lisa Fuglie sang soft ballads that bridged the traditional parts of the Mass. While the "Gloria" was aptly celebratory (and was probably the best blend of choir and band), this Mass was most engrossing when stripped down to its contemplative core, memorably when Fuglie reprised its opening in an a cappella finale.