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Track(s) taken from CDA67219

A New Song

composer
1997
author of text
Psalm 96: 1, 2, 13; Coverdale

Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor), Andrew Reid (organ)
Recording details: July 2000
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: April 2001
Total duration: 4 minutes 36 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph by Dorothy Burrows.
E & E Picture Library
 
1
A New Song  [4'36]

Reviews

'Powerful liturgical music from one of today's most admired composers, performed with passionate intensity … performances throughout are exceptionally fine and the recorded sound radiantly atmospheric' (Gramophone)

'A sublime disc' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A striking issue well worth the investment of all interested in recent choral literature' (American Record Guide)

'It is hard to think of any recent music that conveys religious ecstasy as intensely as James MacMillan's Mass … music of high voltage from first to last … the singing of Westminster Cathedral Choir is electrifying' (The Guardian)

'This music, the Mass in particular, is virtually guaranteed a passage into the central repertoire of choirs around the world; it could hardly have had a better springboard than this recording' (International Record Review)

'A busy railway carriage is probably not the ideal environment in which to listen to James MacMillan’s music. But the fact that it transported me to another place is proof of the power of his (Classic FM Magazine)

'Long life to James MacMillan and a plentiful supply of pens and ink' (Fanfare, USA)

'Anyone familiar with the ambience of Westminster Cathedral from the sound of the choir and organ to the pungent scents of wax polish and incense will feel at home immediately and it is difficult to imagine this music sounding as good in any other place. Highly recommended, these performances of this powerful music will repay concentrated listening and repetition' (Organists' Review)

'Outstanding performances. Gaudeamus in loci pace is a breath-catching bonus' (HMV Choice)

'A programme of exceptional quality and interest, which no genuine lover of cathedral music should ignore' (Cathedral Music)

'From the moment this CD begins, the senses tingle with the magical, spiritual nature of the music' (Sunday Herald, Scotland)
Written in 1997, A New Song was first performed in St Bride’s Episcopal Church, Glasgow, in March of the following year. It was commissioned by Nicholas Russell in memory of his mother Kath, and to celebrate the seventieth birthday of his father. The words are taken from Coverdale’s translation of Psalm 96, of which the first two verses and the last verse are set. The work combines simplicity with grandeur and saves the greatest acclamation of majesty for the end, when the organ part emerges in a thrilling blaze of glory.

The words of the psalm’s opening verse, sung to a simple melody reminiscent of an antiphon, is heard three times, progressively ornamented. The melody is followed on the first two occasions by a choral response with the words of verse 2 and then of verse 13. After the third hearing of the opening melody, this time in canon, the organ takes over the choral response to end in wordless but glorious instrumental song.

from notes by James Whitbourn © 2001

Ecrite en 1997, A New Song reçut sa première audition à l’Eglise épiscopale St Bride, à Glasgow, en mars de l’année suivante. Elle résulte d’une commande de Nicholas Russell pour commémorer la mémoire de sa mère Kath, et pour célébrer les soixante-dix ans de son père. Les mots sont tirés de la traduction que Coverdale réalisa du Psaume 96 dont les deux premiers et derniers versets sont mis en musique. L’œuvre associe simplicité et grandeur et garde le plus haut transport de majesté pour la fin, quand la partie d’orgue jaillit dans tous les feux de la gloire.

Chantés sur une simple mélodie évoquant une antienne, les mots du verset initial du Psaume sont repris par trois fois parés d’une ornementation progressive. La mélodie est suivie lors des deux premiers énoncés par une réponse chorale avec les mots du verset 2 puis 13. Après le troisième énoncé de la mélodie initiale sous la forme d’un canon, l’orgue reprend la réponse chorale pour conclure en une mélodie instrumentale sans paroles mais glorieuse.

extrait des notes rédigées par James Whitbourn © 2001
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Das 1997 komponierte Stück A New Song wurde im März des folgenden Jahres in der Episkopalkirche St. Bride’s in Glasgow uraufgeführt. Es entstand im Auftrag von Nicholas Russell zur Erinnerung an seine Mutter Kath und zur Feier des siebzigsten Geburtstags seines Vaters. Der Text stammt aus Miles Coverdales Übersetzung des 96. Psalms, von dem die ersten beiden Strophen und die letzte vertont wurden. Das Werk verbindet Schlichtheit mit Erhabenheit und behält die größte Beifallsbekundung an die göttliche Majestät dem Schluß vor, wo der Orgelpart in erregendem Glanz und Gloria hervortritt.

Der Text der ersten Strophe des Psalms, auf eine schlichte, antiphonartige Melodie gesungen, erklingt dreimal mit zunehmender Verzierung. Der Melodie folgt beim ersten und zweiten Mal eine Antwort des Chors mit dem Text der zweiten bzw. dreizehnten Strophe. Nach dem dritten Anhören der diesmal als Kanon bearbeiteten einleitenden Melodie übernimmt die Orgel die Antwort des Chors und endet mit wortlosem, aber strahlendem Instrumentalgesang.

aus dem Begleittext von James Whitbourn © 2001
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

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