Dedicated to the Gaelic Language of the Isle of Man

Online release: Manx language choral version of the mass

A new world-first for Manx has been achieved, with the online release of a Manx Gaelic choral version of the Mass.

Composed by Annie Kissack and performed by Manx Gaelic choir, Caarjyn Cooidjagh, the recordings are available to enjoy from Culture Vannin.

Although the bible and other religious texts, such as the Book of Common Prayer, are some of the earliest of all Manx texts, the translation of the Catholic Mass is a relatively modern achievement. This was undertaken by the well-known Manx scholar, Adrian Pilgrim (1948 – 2013), who completed the task in 2006, not long before his own death. A decade or so after this, the text came to the attention of the Dean of St German’s Cathedral in Peel, the Very Revd. Nigel Godfrey. Recognising the importance of the piece, he commissioned Annie Kissack to create a choral setting of the work. Annie is well-known on the Island for being a wonderful poet, Manx speaker, composer, musician, choir leader and so much more.

The Mass received its premiere at St German’s Cathedral, Peel, on 9th September 2018, at a service led by the Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, Peter Eagles.

Speaking at the time, Peter Litman, organist at the Cathedral and performer with the first performance, commented:

“Annie’s Mass setting was beautifully sung this morning. It is a very tuneful and well-crafted, and is an approachable setting. It doesn’t require a large choir and I would like to see it take its rightful place alongside the English settings used in our Parish Churches across the whole Island.”

A professional recording of the piece was produced in 2021 by Culture Vannin. The live recording was made by Ballagroove Studio at St. Mary’s Church, Port St Mary. Annie Kissack conducted Caarjyn Cooidjagh, with Ruth Keggin Gell as soloist and Graham Kirkland on organ.

When asked about the mass, Annie said: 

"I enjoyed writing the score for this; it was an honour. As always I'm indebted to my friends in Caarjyn Cooidjagh who turned notes and words on a page into something quite special and appropriate for such a setting. It's great to have a recorded version now."

Annie, we couldn't agree more! The recording is freely available to enjoy on the Culture Vannin website: Manx Mass | Culture Vannin | Isle of Man

Published: Mon, 25 Mar 2024