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Track(s) taken from CDA67970

Benedictus Deus

2009; SATB unaccompanied; composed for the installation of Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Westminster on 21 May 2009; dedicated to Martin Baker
author of text
Antiphon at the Installation of an Archbishop

Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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Recording details: July 2012
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: June 2013
Total duration: 5 minutes 28 seconds

Cover artwork: Angels Supporting a Dial which Indicates the Hours of the Different Scenes of the Passion, an illustration for The Life of Christ by James Tissot (1836-1902)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Cappella Nova, Alan Tavener (conductor)


'The combination of Westminster Cathedral Choir and MacMillan is irresistible. We are drawn immediately into their complicity by the jaw-dropping Tu es Petrus … its simultaneous celebratory character and clear rootedness in liturgical tradition make it far more than a one-off firework. Quite different are the extraordinary Tenebrae Responsories … the sound of the Westminster choristers adds something unique and the building's resonance buoys up MacMillan's arching lines (carefully shaped under Baker's direction) and dazzling, often bitingly dissonant choral pillars … the performances throughout are outstanding, and beautifully recorded' (Gramophone)

'James MacMillan creates a magnificent effusion of sound, over which the trebles of the Westminster Cathedral Choir soar dramatically … the three movements of Tenebrae Responsories are remarkable for different reasons … this is an intensely concentrated sequence visiting dark, lonely places of the spirit. Of the nine shorter pieces, the ebullient Edinburgh Te Deum is particularly valuable, further attesting to MacMillan's reputation as one of the finest living composers of ecclesiastical music. Martin Baker's direction is masterly' (BBC Music Magazine)

'MacMillan is proof that Catholic composers need not be conventional … the three are an excellent example of that … this is honesty not often heard in sacred music … it's hard not to be impressed by the committed and well-disciplined singing of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, particularly by its boys, who negotiate MacMillan's difficult melismatic writing with confidence' (International Record Review)

'MacMillan has a close relationship with Westminster Cathedral, seeing it as a beacon of musical professionalism to which other Catholic churches should aspire. The performance is correspondingly electric: a perfect balance of voices, topped with a searing, steely treble tone, delivering such perfectly consonant harmonies it’s often goosebump-inducing. An additional draw is the cavernous acoustic of Westminster Cathedral itself—particularly in the joyful noise that is Summae Trinitati, you could be standing in its late-Victorian splendour as the brass and percussion reverberate around you. It's glorious' (Sinfini.com)
Benedictus Deus was composed for the same enthronement service as Summae Trinitati, that of the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Westminster in May 2009, and sets the appropriate Antiphon at the Installation of an Archbishop. An extensively contrapuntal work featuring MacMillan’s trademark ornamental lines, there is an impressively contrasting chordal section at the point where the choir sings ‘Blessed be he who has appointed you to rule on the Archbishop’s throne’, complete with quasi-Coronation harmony and a Monteverdi-like sweep upwards at the end of the phrase. At the image of ‘long years (of glory) in this life’ MacMillan writes such a lengthy series of falling phrases that were this piece not for such a solemn occasion one might imagine a subtle sense of humour at work.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2013

Benedictus Deus, composé pour l’installation du Révérendissime Vincent Nichols comme archevêque de Westminster, en mai 2009, met en musique l’antienne pour l’installation d’un archevêque. Cette œuvre extrêmement contrapuntique, arborant les lignes ornementales qui sont la griffe de MacMillan, comporte une section en accords des plus contrastives, au moment où le chœur chante «Béni soit celui qui vous a désigné pour régner sur le trône de l’archevêque», avec une harmonie presque de couronnement et, en fin de phrase, une montée à la Monteverdi. En écho aux «longues années (de gloire) en cette vie», MacMillan écrit une si longue série de phrases descendantes que, n’était la solennité de l’événement, on pourrait croire à un subtil sens de l’humour.

extrait des notes rédigées par Paul Spicer © 2013
Français: Hypérion

Das Benedictus Deus wurde für denselben Inthronisierungsgottesdienst komponiert wie Summae Trinitati und es ist hier die entsprechende Antiphon zur Einsetzung eines Erzbischofs vertont. Es handelt sich dabei um ein ausgedehnt kontrapunktisches Werk, in dem MacMillans charakteristische ornamentalen Linien vorkommen und bei der Stelle, wo der Chor „Gepriesen sei der, der dich dazu ernannt hat, auf dem Thron des Erzbischofs zu regieren“ singt, kommt eine eindrucksvolle Akkordpassage vor, samt einer Harmonie, die an Krönungen erinnert, sowie einer aufwärts gerichteten Figur am Ende der Phrase im Stile Monteverdis. Bei dem Bild der „langen Jahre (des Ruhms) in diesem Leben“ schreibt MacMillan eine derart lange Reihe abfallender Phrasen, dass—wenn dieses Stück nicht für einen so feierlichen Anlass entstanden wäre—man meinen könnte, hier sei ein subtiler Sinn für Humor mit von der Partie.

aus dem Begleittext von Paul Spicer © 2013
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

MacMillan: Who are these angels? & other sacred music
Studio Master: CKD383Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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