Missa Charles Darwin


The Missa Charles Darwin is available as a part of Moonstrung Air, a collection of my choral and vocal works.


more information and other vendors


[The EP liner notes (with texts) are available for download.]

The Missa Charles Darwin is a multi-movement composition scored for unaccompanied male vocal quartet written by Gregory W. Brown using texts from Darwin compiled and edited by New York Polyphony bass Craig Phillips. Based on the standard five-movement structure of the Mass, the Missa Charles Darwin honors the compositional and harmonic conventions of its musical antecedents. Unlike traditional Mass settings, however, the sacred texts have been replaced with excerpts from On The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Darwin’s extant correspondence.

At its core, the Missa Charles Darwin is the product of centuries of cultural evolution. It is built on the standard five-movement form, its harmonic and musical vocabulary is informed by “ancestral” precedent, and its function — like all musical settings of text — is to augment the expressive power of language. But instead of the traditional sacred texts, the Missa Charles Darwin employs the secular writings of Charles Darwin, specifically his On The Origin of Species.

Notable Performances

10/15/11 TEDxWoodsHole composer lecture [link]
11/18/11 full premiere with composer lecture at Falmouth Forum [link]
6/9/12 Beacon Hill Concert Series
2/12/13 Featured as part of Stanford University’s Darwin Day Celebration [link]
3/22/13 Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) [link]
10/18/13 Phillips Exeter Academy Library [link]
11/1/13 Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla, California [link]
11/2 & 3/13 Univ. of California (Davis) [link]
3/21/14 St. John’s Cathedral, Denver [link]
4/10/14 St. Botolph’s without Bishopgate (SATB version) [link]
11/20/14 University of Dayton, OH [link]
11/22/14 Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Omaha NE [link]
9/27/15 Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro VT [link]
future events will appear in the events calendar




Other Links

New York Polyphony

Smith College Insight magazine article