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Hyperion Records

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Angels Supporting a Dial which Indicates the Hours of the Different Scenes of the Passion, an illustration for The Life of Christ by James Tissot (1836-1902)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67970
Recording details: July 2012
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: June 2013
Total duration: 4 minutes 32 seconds

'The combination of Westminster Cathedral Choir and MacMillan is irresistible. We are drawn immediately into their complicity by the jaw-dropping Tu es Petrus … its simultaneous celebratory character and clear rootedness in liturgical tradition make it far more than a one-off firework. Quite different are the extraordinary Tenebrae Responsories … the sound of the Westminster choristers adds something unique and the building's resonance buoys up MacMillan's arching lines (carefully shaped under Baker's direction) and dazzling, often bitingly dissonant choral pillars … the performances throughout are outstanding, and beautifully recorded' (Gramophone)

'James MacMillan creates a magnificent effusion of sound, over which the trebles of the Westminster Cathedral Choir soar dramatically … the three movements of Tenebrae Responsories are remarkable for different reasons … this is an intensely concentrated sequence visiting dark, lonely places of the spirit. Of the nine shorter pieces, the ebullient Edinburgh Te Deum is particularly valuable, further attesting to MacMillan's reputation as one of the finest living composers of ecclesiastical music. Martin Baker's direction is masterly' (BBC Music Magazine)

'MacMillan is proof that Catholic composers need not be conventional … the three are an excellent example of that … this is honesty not often heard in sacred music … it's hard not to be impressed by the committed and well-disciplined singing of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, particularly by its boys, who negotiate MacMillan's difficult melismatic writing with confidence' (International Record Review)

'MacMillan has a close relationship with Westminster Cathedral, seeing it as a beacon of musical professionalism to which other Catholic churches should aspire. The performance is correspondingly electric: a perfect balance of voices, topped with a searing, steely treble tone, delivering such perfectly consonant harmonies it’s often goosebump-inducing. An additional draw is the cavernous acoustic of Westminster Cathedral itself—particularly in the joyful noise that is Summae Trinitati, you could be standing in its late-Victorian splendour as the brass and percussion reverberate around you. It's glorious' (Sinfini.com)

Tota pulchra es
composer
2010; SATB and organ; commissioned by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC, for the American Guild of Organists' National Convention; dedicated to the Very Reverend Dennis Corrado
author of text
Song of Songs; antiphon for Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Other recordings available for download
Cappella Nova, Alan Tavener (conductor), John Kitchen (organ)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Tota pulchra es was written in 2010 for the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention and commissioned by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC. The settings of these words we know from composers like Bruckner, Duruflé and Casals are mostly gentle and reflective. MacMillan’s is powerful, impressive, rhythmic and dramatic. It is an outpouring of joy in an almost fevered dance. As might be expected for such an occasion the organ has a key role to play and the work ends with a series of fractured chords and a final blaze of B major on full organ.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2013


Other albums featuring this work
'MacMillan: Who are these angels? & other sacred music' (CKD383)
MacMillan: Who are these angels? & other sacred music
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD383  Download only  

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