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Track(s) taken from CDA67219

Seinte Mari moder milde

first performed on Christmas Eve 1995
author of text
13th century

Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor), Andrew Reid (organ)
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: 5 minutes 47 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph by Dorothy Burrows.
E & E Picture Library


'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)
The words of the poem Seinte Mari moder milde, from a thirteenth-century manuscript in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, are offered new dramatic and lyrical power in MacMillan’s setting. It was commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge, for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols and first performed on Christmas Eve, 1995. The work beautifully excites the chapel’s famous acoustic with its soaring high treble notes which are equally effective in the resonant space of Westminster Cathedral. After the opening phrase, the organ part is at once released from an accompanying role and given a freedom which adds to the spirit and forward motion of this work. The greatest sense of the unexpected is reserved for the end, when the texture moves quickly from the sonorous scoring of full organ and choir to a mesmeric duet for two solo trebles which leaves the piece hanging in impish suspense.

from notes by James Whitbourn © 2001

Les mots de Seinte Mari moder milde, figurant dans un manuscrit du XIIIe siècle de la Bibliothèque de Trinity College, à Cambridge, offrent un exemple d’une puissance dramatique et lyrique chez la musique de MacMillan. Commandité par King’s College, Cambridge, pour le «Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols», il a été exécuté pour la première fois lors de la veillée de Noël en 1995. Cette œuvre sollicite magnifiquement la fameuse acoustique de la chapelle, avec ses aigus lancinants qui sont tout aussi souverains dans l’espace résonant de la Cathédrale de Westminster. Après la phrase initiale, la partie d’orgue est soudainement délivrée de son rôle accompagnateur et dotée d’une liberté augmentant l’esprit et l’allant de cette page. L’immense sentiment de l’inattendu est réservé pour la conclusion, lorsque les textures évoluent avec rapidité de la plénitude sonore du tutti à l’orgue et au chœur vers un duo magnétique pour deux dessus solistes. La pièce reste suspendue dans un suspense espiègle.

extrait des notes rédigées par James Whitbourn © 2001
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Der Gedichttext Seinte Mari moder milde, aus einem Manuskript des dreizehnten Jahrhunderts, das in der Bibliothek des Trinity College Cambridge aufbewahrt wird, erhält durch MacMillans Vertonung neue dramatische und lyrische Kraft. Das Werk wurde vom King’s College Cambridge für das „Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols“ in Auftrag gegeben und am Heiligabend 1995 uraufgeführt. Es stellt mit seinen schwebenden hohen Diskanttönen, die im hallenden Raum der Kathedrale von Westminster ebenso wirkungsvoll sind, auf wunderschöne Art die berühmte Akustik der College-Kapelle heraus. Nach der einleitenden Phrase wird der Orgelpart sogleich von seiner reinen Begleitfunktion erlöst und bekommt eine Freiheit zugesprochen, die den Schwung und die Triebkraft des Werks erhöht. Das Gefühl des Unerwarteten bleibt in seiner stärksten Ausprägung dem Schluß vorbehalten, wo die Struktur rasch von vollem Orgel- und Chorklang zu einem faszinierenden Duett für zwei solistische Diskantstimmen übergeht, das das Stück in verschmitzter Spannung in der Luft hängen läßt.

aus dem Begleittext von James Whitbourn © 2001
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

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