While the Kyrie text (Lord, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us) is deeply penitential at its heart, it can also provide the worshipper a deep expression of gratitude and even thanksgiving for the mercies of the Lord. Consider the Psalmist’s reflection in Psalm 145:9 — "The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works." Or even the element of thankful praise in Psalm 89:1 — "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations."
In this Kyrie for SATB, elements of all of these postures toward the mercies of God are given expression. The quiet but intense opening "Kyrie, eleison" section bears a slight mysteriousness and unease that is manifest musically through the use of glissandi. The "Christe, eleison", which is more reflective and penitential in nature, leads to a return to the "Kyrie", bearing first a tone of thankful praise yet concluding with a pensive solemnity that typically marks renderings of the Kyrie text.
Kyrie was written during the summer of 2012 being commissioned by the A cappella Choir of Northwestern College (IA) for their 2012 Christmas Vespers concert. The choir premiered Kyrie on December 1, 2012 with Thomas Holm directing. (A video of that premiere performance is available on YouTube here.)
—December 1, 2012: Northwestern College A cappella Choir, Christ Chapel (Orange City, IA)
—December 2, 2012: Northwestern College A cappella Choir, Christ Chapel (Orange City, IA)