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Czerwono-Czarni: Msza Beatowa–Pan Przyjacielem Moim

(Muza XL 0475) 1968?

One of the genres of Mass music that never quite got off the ground was the “rock Mass.” Part of the problem was that rock Masses aren’t very participatory in the sense that people can easily sing along with the music; it’s more of a “spectator sport.” But the other problem was that many of the rock Masses weren’t very good–either as rock or as Masses.

This album is an exception. Czerwono-Czarni (the “Red-Blacks”) started in a club in Gdansk, where the Solidarity movement that was instrumental in ending Communism in Poland also began. They were named after the colours of the club. They were Poland’s first rock band of note.

This Mass was written by Katarzyna Gartner and first performed at St. Christopher’s Church in January 1968. It’s a pity that the reaction of the congregation wasn’t recorded, because this album is a veritable tour de force of 1960’s rock genres (the title means “Beat Mass.”) Sometimes it sounds like a 1960’s James Bond movie, which is especially appropriate since it came from an Iron Curtain country. It’s sung entirely in Polish, although you can tell from the Latin titles where most of them fit into the Mass.

One notable piece is the Gloria, a notoriously difficult part to set to music. This group gets around that by “rapping” it. They mix things up all over, sparing nothing in stylistic changes, from bells and chants to…well, you’ll just have to listen to it yourself.

The songs:

  1. Introitus
  2. Kyrie
  3. Gloria
  4. Graduale
  5. Credo
  6. Sanctus
  7. Agnus Dei
  8. Communio
  9. Koleda
  10. Chwalcie Imie Pana
  11. Przyjaciele Moi
  12. Historia O Bozym Narodzeniu


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