Of After Virtue
MacMillan writes: ‘This is the only secular work on this recording but its message is a warning about how certain readings of the secular can lead us to barbarity. It is a setting of the last page of Alasdair MacIntyre’s book of the same name, a landmark tome in moral philosophy and a profound criticism of modern moral discourse. He claims that older forms of moral discourse, especially Aristotle and Aquinas are a better guide for the common good. MacIntyre’s revival of “virtue ethics” has had a big impact on me.’ The intensely rhythmic nature of this setting, the imaginative humming colours, the ferocity of expression, the impetus given by streams of moving quavers hummed above the pounding text, and the wholly unexpected and mesmerizingly beautiful utterances of ‘Saint Benedict’ with which the piece ends, all add up to a remarkable tour de force.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 2013