Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Puderbaugh, David

First Committee Member

Adams, Bluford

Second Committee Member

Stalter, Timothy

Third Committee Member

Swanson, Stephen

Fourth Committee Member

Wilson Kimber, Marian


This thesis presents, for the first time in a modern printed edition, the complete Mass in C (1884–1885) for choir, soloists, and orchestra by the American composer George Bristow (1825–1898). Bristow’s Mass previously existed only in manuscript form, with the exception of a single movement, the Kyrie, that had been typeset. Bristow was based in New York City, had a multifaceted career, and was prolific in a variety of musical genres. He fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in recent years, a few of his works have become available in modern editions.

The tradition of musical settings of the sung ordinaries (texts that are always present and do not change) of the Roman Catholic mass began as a liturgical practice, but composers also began to extend the musical form in ways that made their masses more suited for a concert setting. Bristow’s Mass, with its large orchestra and lengthy settings of the Gloria and Credo, is more appropriate for concert use. The other movements, however, are short enough to make liturgical use feasible.

The commentary that accompanies this edition investigates why Bristow and his music are relatively unknown today and why the Mass in C has been especially obscure. A biography of Bristow follows, highlighting aspects of his career that relate to his Mass, and emphasizing his late period (1879–1898). Finally, there is a discussion of Bristow’s musical style and his influences, with a specific look at style and influences in the Mass in C.


xvii, 464 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 457-464).


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Copyright © 2016 Brian Keith Bailey

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