Gloria (Jenkins)

Gloria is a sacred choral composition by Karl Jenkins, completed in 2010. It is an extended setting of the Gloria part of the mass in Latin, on the text of the Gloria in three movements, interpolated with two movements on other texts, Psalm 150 in Hebrew and a song derived from biblical verses in English. Spoken passages from sacred text from four religious traditions are part of the composition. It was published by Boosey & Hawkes in 2010. Gloria is often performed together with the composer's Te Deum.

by Karl Jenkins
Angels dancing sun Giovanni di Paolo Condé Chantilly.jpg
Angels dancing by Giovanni di Paolo. Jenkins' text combines the Gloria, beginning with the Annunciation to the Shepherds, and Psalm 150 about singing and dancing for the Lord
Composed2010 (2010)
Performed11 July 2010 (2010-07-11): London
Published2010 (2010): London by Boosey & Hawkes
  • SATB choir
  • solo voice


Jenkins composed the work in 2010 on a commission by Don Monro who founded the Concerts from Scratch and The Really Big Chorus.[1] The piece is scored for a solo voice, a mixed choir and a large symphony orchestra with extensive percussion.[2] The text is the Gloria of the mass, extended by other sung and spoken texts. The premiere on 11 July 2010 was performed at the Royal Albert Hall by The Really Big Chorus and the London Festival Orchestra, conducted by Brian Kay.[2]

Gloria was published in 2010 by Boosey & Hawkes.[2] It takes about 34 minutes to perform.[2][1]

Scoring and structureEdit

Gloria is for a solo voice, a mixed choir and a large symphony orchestra with extensive, partly exotic percussion. The choir is four-part SATB, but both women's and men's voices are frequently divided in three parts. Any solo voice can perform in movement IV. The orchestra consists of two flutes (doubling piccolo), two oboes (optional), two clarinets in B-flat (second doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons (second optionally doubling contrabassoon), four horns in F, two or three trumpets in B-flat, three 3 trombones, tuba (optional), timpani, percussion (three, 1: side drum, surdo, finger cymbals, cymbals, 2: triangle, cabasa, tambourine (or goblet drum etc.), hand drum (darbuca, congas, etc.), cymbals, suspended cymbal, 3: glockenspiel, xylophone, bass drum), and strings.[2]

The text of the Gloria in structured in three movements (I, II, V), with two added movements (III and IV) on interspersed texts, the Psalm 150 (in Hebrew or Latin) and a song in English which is based on biblical verses.[2][3] Between movements, sacred texts from different religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam) are recited. The following table shows the movements and readings with their titles, incipit, translation, tempo marking and key, as provided in the vocal score. Time signatures are not listed as they change frequently.[2]

No. Title Incipit Translation Marking Key
I The Proclamation Gloria in excelsis Deo Glory to God in the highest Moderato C minor
II The Prayer Laudamus te We praise you Larghissimo E-flat major
III The Psalm: Tehillim O praise God in his holiness Giubiloso F
IV The Song: I'll make music Lord and Master, I'll sing a song to you Largo D major
V The Exsultation Domine Deus Lord God Moderato C minor


Jenkins is known for "simple structures" which "are never sentimental", for "broad multicultural gestures", and "a particular take on the textures of older British band music". A review notes that he structured the Gloria in contrasting movements, some "big, brassy, quartal-sounding", others quiet "in which the choir circles around a core of three or four notes". The reviewer believes the insertions of short "readings of scripture from Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Islamic traditions" and "'ethnic percussion' vaguely associated with these faiths" as suggesting "a sincere ecumenism on the composer's part".[3] Movement III is reminiscent of Jenkins' popular Adiemus, "with its primeval-sounding harmonies, declamatory choral style and pounding drummed rhythms".[4]


Gloria is featured on a CD, together with Te Deum, sung by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Gloria". Schott. Retrieved 2 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Karl Jenkins / Gloria / vocal score. Boosey.
  3. ^ a b c Manheim, James. "Karl Jenkins: Gloria; Te Deum". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Gardner, Charlotte (2010). "Karl Jenkins Gloria / Te Deum (London Symphony Orchestra; National Youth Choir of Great Britain; soprano: Hayley Westenra) Review". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit