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Pop / Rock 25/01/2022

Sarah Kirkland Snider Releases "Agnus Dei" Video From 'Mass For The Endangered'

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider has released a video for 'Agnus Dei' from her album Mass for the Endangered, released to critical acclaim on New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records in September 2020. The video by CandyStations, aka Deborah Johnson, is the sixth and final video in the series for the album from the visual artist, following 'Gloria,' 'Credo,' 'Alleluia,' 'Kyrie,' and 'Sanctus/Benedictus.'

"'Agnus Dei' is a culmination of all the visuals thus far, a 'Cathedral of the Cosmos,' honoring and receiving the animal and plant species that no longer find life on Earth sustainable," says Johnson. "The larger theme is that of a tree - a kind of Yggdrasil - an eternal green ash tree in Norse mythology. It stands in the middle of the world, rooted in the earth but reaching to the heavens, the physical/natural embodiment of both realms. In each of these realms, a benevolent lamb is present - starting with a primordial coral core, ascending through roots, totems, trees, skies, and heaven."

Mass for the Endangered, with a libretto by poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows, is a celebration of, and an elegy for, the natural world—animals, plants, insects, the planet itself—an appeal for greater awareness, urgency, and action. Originally commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street, the recording features the English vocal ensemble Gallicantus conducted by Gabriel Crouch. The New Yorker says it "proclaims Snider's technical command and unerring knack for breahttaking beauty." NPR says: "Through her smart and resplendent exploration of age-old musical formals, Snider's eco-inspired Mass for the Endangered is a blast from the past that resnoates profoundly in the present."

Deborah Johnson, who has previously worked with artists like Sufjan Stevens, eighth blackbird, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Bang On A Can, and Wilco, presents a unified and distinctive vision to accompany the music of Snider's Mass: the full six videos are viewed as a 'Cathedral of the Cosmos,' honoring and receiving the animal and plant species that no longer find life on Earth sustainable. The videos draw from architectural elements of cathedrals, and grow in complexity with each video.

"One of my favorite aspects of this collaboration has been learning about Deborah's creative process and getting to peek behind-the-scenes at how she makes her art. I was really struck by the thoughtfulness and sensitivity with which her animations inhabit the architecture and pacing of the score," Snider writes in an essay for the Nonesuch Journal on working with Johnson. "Working with Deborah on Mass for the Endangered has been one of the more satisfying and enriching collaborations I've experienced. I love that I don't know what's next to come in this poetic, layered, phantasmagorical story she's creating, and I can't wait to see how it expands and deepens my understanding of the music."

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