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Hyperion Records

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Angel by William Morris (1834-1896)
Courtesy of Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67867
Recording details: June 2010
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2011
Total duration: 5 minutes 13 seconds

'Wells Cathedral Choir gives a compelling survey of choral pieces by one of Britain's most important composers … MacMillan's musical voice remains breathtakingly distinctive and true. This disc is a worthy recorded tribute to a truly significant figure in contemporary music. Highly recommended' (Choir & Organ)

'The Wells singing is of a consistently high standard (MacMillan's trademark use of melisma is particularly well assimilated) and organist Jonathan Vaughn delivers a scintillating account of Le tombeau de Georges Rouault, the magnificent solo piece which ends this absorbing programme' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Here is another splendid release of recent British choral music from the choir of Wells Cathedral and its superb director Matthew Owens … the choir is, in a word, magnificent. Singing with impressive self-assurance and clearly revelling in MacMillan's uncanny ability to make everything sound perfectly natural even when the technical skills involved are extraordinarily demanding' (International Record Review)

Serenity
First line:
O salutaris hostia
composer
2009; SATB and organ; to the pupils and staff of St Aloysius' College, Glasgow
author of text
Antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor), Peter Stevens (organ)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Serenity was written for the 150th anniversary celebrations of St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow, the school MacMillan’s children attended. St Aloysius is an independent Catholic school founded in 1859 which has a spacious, domed neo-baroque chapel. MacMillan’s work is a setting of two texts: one by St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in Latin, and the other attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) in English. The Aquinas text is a well-known Benediction hymn and Niebuhr’s famous prayer, universally known as ‘Serenity’, gives MacMillan his title. The first section setting Aquinas’s words is a good example of MacMillan’s ability to write a straightforward setting. Indeed, MacMillan uses the piece frequently with his own church choir in Glasgow. It is, in effect, harmonized chant doubled by the organ. In the second section, to Neibuhr’s words, the sopranos sing an ornamented chant—unmistakeably redolent of MacMillan—over an organ pedal point. This pairing is repeated, with the ‘O salutaris hostia’ hymn acting as a refrain between verses of Neibuhr’s ‘Serenity’. In the last verse the sopranos descant the three key words of the opening of the poem—‘serenity, courage, wisdom’—over the lower voices, which sing a Latin doxology in unison using the melody given to the Latin words throughout. As the descant dies away so the Latin words grow to a strong conclusion and the organ carries the anthem loudly to its end.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2011


Other albums featuring this work
'MacMillan: Tenebrae Responsories & other choral works' (CDA67970)
MacMillan: Tenebrae Responsories & other choral works
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00 CDA67970  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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