m=pV (Instrumental Parts)
Scored for: SATB with chamber orchestra (or organ, harp and percussion)
Other info: m=pV (mass equals density multiplied by volume) was commissioned by Southern Oregon Singers in 2020 and is scored for SATB and small orchestra. The work can also be performed with organ, harp and percussion.
A secular work, inspired by the double meaning of the word ‘Mass’, m=pV is loosely based on the shape of
the Ordinary Mass. Hence six movements with original texts exploring humanity’s relationship with the
earth and the universe.
Instrumental Parts: ISMN 9790570701599
*m=pV can be performed with the timpani, percussion and harp and an organ part is available to cover the other instruments. The organ could also be used to bolster a small string section.
(Ashland News by Jim Flint)
Todd’s new work, a five-movement piece commissioned by Rep Singers, is composed in the Catholic Mass form. Its title, “m=pV,” refers to the density calculator that uses the formula p=m/V, or density (p) is equal to mass (m) divided by volume (V). You can use any two of the values to calculate the third.
Todd relishes the wordplay inherent in his choice.
“The title ‘m=pV,’ or mass equals density times volume, follows the shape of the Latin Mass,” he said, “but the words are my own and are focused on a secular understanding of existence, with references to science and the universe. At the same time, it’s based on the texts of the Mass. Therefore the ‘mass’ in the title has a double meaning.”
Having sung the Mass and set it many times in both English and Latin, Todd understands the form within the context of liturgy.
“This piece explores beyond that linking to physical and scientific reasoning,” he said. “I am comfortable with both science and faith, although I realize that is by no means the case for everyone.”
As he often does when composing, Todd experienced a transition from a more purposeful approach to one more exploratory in writing the piece.
“I always have a moment at the start of any composition when I think of ‘How am I going to do this?’ But somehow as I work on things, I lose that feeling and become more involved in the journey of discovering the work.”
What does he hope listeners will take away from the experience?
“I hope the feeling will be one of connection to our life within the limits of our planet and the vastness of the universe,” he said.