Pierre Henry; The Liverpool Mass performance

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, L3, 13 May, 7.30pm

Join the team at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral as Bluecoat presents The Liverpool Mass (Messe de Liverpool) by Pierre Henry.

This pioneering work was developed by acclaimed composer Henry for the Cathedral’s inaugural mass in 1967. However, Henry was unable to complete it in time, and another work was substituted.

Now, 50 years on, in a unique collaboration between the French composer and Bluecoat, the piece – structured as a traditional Catholic mass – will be staged in full at the Cathedral, in an immersive and memorable experience.

Pierre Henry is known worldwide for developing electronic music through musique concrète, a form of composition using electronically treated natural sounds. His influential music has been sampled by many artists over the years, including Fatboy Slim, and his Psyche Rock was the inspiration for the theme tune of Matt Groening’s Futurama.

With a sound design created especially for the space using 40 speakers arranged around its circumference, The Liverpool Mass will be presented as a live mix by Henry’s collaborator Thierry Balasse.

Consisting of six movements - Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Communion - the work interprets the traditional mass through recitation of its texts, accompanied by musical instruments ‘treated’ by Henry to produce a haunting yet uplifting composition, fitting for the ceremonial and celebratory occasion of the Cathedral’s inauguration.

This will be the first time The Liverpool Mass has been presented with Henry’s cooperation and a new sound design in the setting for which it was originally intended: a mid-20th century modernist structure with distinctive ‘brutalist’ architecture of concrete and stained glass. Henry’s electronic score was intended to complement this daring new building, as the sound would resonate in the magnificent, cavernous, light-filled circular interior.

The evening programme will begin with a set by Vincent Epplay and Samon Takahashi, made in response to Henry’s music in this special Liverpool setting. These Paris-based contemporary electronic sound designers produce original compositions and film soundtracks, as well as interpreting the work of others, including English-Australian composer Tristram Cary. 21st century successors to musique concrète pioneers Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer, their music embraces electroacoustic and more electronic forms such as ‘krautrock’ and groove.

Group bookings of 10+ are eligible for a concessions rate of £7 per ticket.