MUSICALLY SPEAKING WITH MILDRED KAYDEN: AFRICAN MASS (RADIO)

Summary

One in this series of talk shows that aired on WEVD in the 1950s and 1960s in which composer/librettist/Vassar music professor Mildred Kayden interviews renowned performing artists about their musical influences. In this special edition of the program, Kayden discusses the Missa Luba, a musical version of the traditional Latin Mass as performed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Topics discussed include: the traditional five-part structure of the Catholic Mass; the Missa Luba's combined use of African percussion and European influences; the history of "plain chant," or Gregorian chant, which features one simple "mono-melody"; the "long and slow evolution" from plain chant to polyphony, or multi-toned music; how the percussive "riffs" used in the Missa Luba relate to American jazz and share origins with African rhythms; the flexible rhythm of certain plain chants, dissimilar from modern-day metrical music; an explanation of a parallel fifth, often found in eleventh-century music, in which a line of melody is "mirrored" several lines later to create consonance; the "extreme drama" of the Missa Luba's Sanctus, which uses a chordal style; and the closing Agnus Dei section, which makes an "attempt at polyphony."

Includes the following musical selections performed by Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin choir, led by Père Guido Haazen: the five-part Missa Luba, including the Kyrie Eleison, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and its secondary Benedictus section, and the Agnus Dei. Also included as comparisons to the Missa Luba: The St. Joseph's Seminary choir's version of "Rorate Caeli" ("Drop down ye heavens from above"), a version of "Rex Caeli," and the Benedictus from Palestrina's "Missa sine nomine" (also called "Missa Papae Marcelli.")

Mildred Goldstein studied music at Vassar College under Ernst Krenek, from 1940 to 1942. After graduation, Goldstein worked as an instructor of music literature at Vassar College as well as a composer and lyricist. In 1950, she married Bernard Kayden, taking his name and composing under the name Mildred Kayden. During her career, Kayden wrote operas (including "Mardi Gras" and "The Last Word") and scores for musicals such as "Call the Children Home," "Storyville," "Sepia Star," and the hit 1974 Off Broadway show "Ionescopade" (revived in 2012 by the York Theater in New York City), as well as music and lyrics for the NBC television program "Strangers in the Land."

Mildred Kayden's weekly radio program, "Musically Speaking" -- in which she interviewed luminaries from classical music, opera, theater, dance, and jazz -- aired from 1956 to the early 1960s on WEVD in New York, followed later in the 1960s by the radio program "Forum of the Arts."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Kayden Foundation.

Details

  • NETWORK: WEVD
  • DATE:
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:29:51
  • COLOR/B&W:
  • CATALOG ID: 108161
  • GENRE: Talk/Interview
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Congo, Democratic Republic of
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Mildred Kayden … Host
    • Guido Haazen
    • Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin
    • St. Joseph's Seminary Choir
    • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina