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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: 6 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)

Gaudeamus in loci pace
composer
1998

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The first substantial organ work in MacMillan’s output, Gaudeamus in loci pace owes its existence to a location far from the metropolitan splendours of Westminster Cathedral. It was written in 1998 to celebrate the golden jubilee of the re-foundation of Pluscarden Abbey, the Benedictine community near Elgin, Moray, in the diocese of Aberdeen. The composer serenely unfolds the melodic line of a plainchant melody against a free and high-pitched ornamental line, which sounds at times like birdsong—an inescapable feature of the tranquillity of Pluscarden—and further evokes its sense of timelessness.

The melody, Gaudeamus in loci pace is sung as the introit on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day on which the monks celebrate the anniversary of their re-foundation. The piece was written for the Scottish organist Joseph Cullen, a former Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.

from notes by James Whitbourn © 2001

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