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