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Hyperion Records

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Photograph by Dorothy Burrows.
E & E Picture Library
Track(s) taken from CDA67219
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

'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)

A New Song
author of text
Psalm 96: 1, 2, 13; Coverdale

A New Song  [4'36] English

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
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

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