Copyright © 2015 Gordon Rock. All rights reserved.
My career as a writer of music for the mass began during a weekend devoted to creative approaches to the new English liturgy under the direction of Monsignor Michael Buckley at Wood Hall near Wetherby in Yorkshire. At the time (around 1968) I was teaching music at Pilgrim School, Bedford and my wife Marie-
This was not out of any religious fervour. My own attitude to the Catholic Church, indeed to any religion was, to put it mildly, detached (though I had written a setting of the well-
My interest was suddenly stirred. What’s liturgy? I said. Where are the words? By the end of lunch on the Saturday I had turned the Gloria into verse and written the tune. Kevin Mayhew was there. Would I write the rest of the mass? he said. The Pilgrim's Mass was published by Mayhew -
I was received into the Church in 1972 having meanwhile written Missa de Saeculis (Mass of the Ages). This began life in a hotel in Tenerife during the performance of a sensational folk song from the Andes rendered by a group called Los Paraguayos. The result was another Gloria. The rest soon followed, including a Pater Noster which I find quite moving. Unfortunately the very idea of a Latin folk mass was a non-
Having succeeded in setting the Latin text exactly as it stood I felt it was time to do the same with the English avoiding all repetition, hesitation or deviation, eschewing the twin temptations of syncopation and sentimentality and bridging the gap between folk and mainstream. There followed a series of masses with slightly exotic titles-
My career in brief-