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Mass for the Endangered

Composer, Sarah Kirkland Snider
Text by Nathaniel Bellows

Video art by Deborah Johnson

"Breathtaking beauty." -- The New Yorker

"A prayer for endangered wildlife and their imperiled environments...elegiac and affecting." -- Wall Street Journal

Sarah Kirkland Snider's "Mass for the Endangered" is a six-movement work performed by English vocal ensemble Gallicantus, led by Gabriel Crouch. The work is a celebration of, and elegy for, the natural world. 


Snider explains, “The origin of the Mass is rooted in humanity’s concern for itself, expressed through worship of the divine—which, in the Catholic tradition, is a God in the image of man. Nathaniel and I thought it would be interesting to take the Mass’s musical modes of spiritual contemplation and apply them to concern for non-human life—animals, plants, and the environment. There is an appeal to a higher power—for mercy, forgiveness, and intervention—but that appeal is directed not to God but rather to Nature itself.”

This emphatic articulation of purpose, sung by and for other humans, seems to be reaching beyond environmentalism and toward morality at large.--The New York Times

[Mass for the Endangered] ...conveys its urgent ecological message with power and beauty.--BBC

Full press reviews here

Jointly released by New Amsterdam and Nonesuch

I Kyrie

I Kyrie

Play Video

1. Kyrie


Kyrie Eleison


On earth, air, and water,

have mercy.

On stone, tree, and flower,

have mercy.

World have mercy.


Kyrie Eleison

Give mercy to all wing and paw,

mercy to all creed and claw,

on flower, seed, leaf, and root.


Give mercy to all broods and tribes,

mercy to all nests and prides;

to tide and spring, squall and breeze,

to those who plead for calm and peace,

not hunted, hounded, poisoned, fleeced. 

To barren, poisoned land:

Forgive us.

To the vanished, and the left:

Forgive us.

World forgive us.


Mercy on this refuge,

this braided boundless stone.

Mercy for their old,

mercy for their young.


And mercy now

for what we've done.


Kyrie Eleison


— Nathaniel Bellows