In 2018 Cappella Nova held a competition inviting women composers to submit a score for an a cappellawork setting the text ‘dona nobis pacem’. The competition was to mark 100 Years of Female Suffrage and The Centenary of the Armistice of WW1. The winning piece was to be performed alongside Robert Carver’s Mass, L’Homme armé. This piece was short-listed in the competition.
Robert Carver was the only British composer to base a Mass-setting on the medieval European ‘pop’ song L’Homme armé. In light of this, I have taken the ‘dona nobis pacem’ from Carver’s Missa L’Homme armé as a literal starting point. The piece is enveloped in the sound-world of Carver, whilst embracing more contemporary choral sounds, to give a sense of it being as much about the ‘here and now’ as a homage to the past. Dona nobis pacem is suffused with direct quotes from the medieval song L’Homme armé, albeit in a harmonic language which is at once contemporary whilst also harking back to the parallel harmony of the distant past.