, who has been known for both her own work and as a singer of extremely demanding modern scores, created this heart-wrenching cry about the physical suffering caused by the AIDS plague being compounded by the shameful arrogance of self-appointed moralists. Maintaining an incredible intensity and depth for over an hour's solo vocal (recorded live at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC, with suitably minimal band and electronics backup), Galas
proceeds through Mahalia Jackson
-influenced spiritual singing, saxophone-like wails, to dramatic dialogues in many dialects and languages ("there are no more tickets to the funeral") to engrossing Portuguese fado singing to taking on the attributes of Satan (in "Sono L'Antichristo," "I Am the Anti-Christ") in order to challenge the concept of a vengeful, instead of compassionate deity (and society), much as Nina Simone
did in her controversial song "God Is a Killer" in the '60s. The Mass ends with the heartfelt lyrics "I go to sleep each evening now dreaming of the grave and see the friends I used to know calling out my name. O Lord Jesus, do you think I've served my time ?." At times, the singing is "self-indulgent," but, oh well.