Bright Mass with Canons was written for John Scott and the choir of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York. There are canons ÔÇ£ÔÇ£ imitative repetitions ÔÇ£ÔÇ£ in almost every bar of the Mass. In the Kyrie and Gloria, canons reference the imitative writing of early English composers Byrd and Weelkes, whereas the canonic writing in the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei is more abstract and spatial. The most intense use comes towards the beginning the Sanctus, in which each singer repeats a given figure in his own time, creating a flurry of sound to fill the space in St. ThomasÔÇÖs sanctuary.
Contemporary American composer Nico Muhly is a prolific writer and arranger who, at 32, is the youngest composer ever to have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His oeuvre includes two operas, and many solo pieces and works for small ensemble, Orchestra, and Chorus, and he has collaborated with artists such as Philip Glass, Bj├Ârk and Sigur R├│s.
In the December 2014 edition of Organists' Review, Christopher Maxim writes that "the vocal writing frequently evokes Renaissance polyphony" and "the language is fresh and contemporary, with much zest being added by the organ part."