JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Missa Dunelmi (James MacMillan [conductor]), St. Patrick's Magnificat, ...fiat mihi..., Cum videsset Jesus, I am your Mother, Invocation, Domine non secundum peccata nostra for Violin and Chorus (Madeleine Mitchell [violin]), Alpha & Omega.
Catalogue Number: 01P082
Reference: CKD 439
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: In the extensive accompanying interview that serves as booklet notes, MacMillan speaks of the pleasure of examining familiar texts in different ways. These a cappella settings of devotional texts, on an intimate scale, without the grandly dramatic gestures and overwhelming orchestral or organ accompaniments that MacMillan handles with such aplomb, clearly reveal the composer's close relationship with the mysteries of his faith. The impression is of an intensely personal celebration of the texts; a service conducted in a small chapel, rather than a vast, ornate cathendral, so to speak. Of MacMillan's various Mass settings, this one, written for Durham Cathedral, has a profound and eloquent simplicity. Two characteristics are common to these recent works; a very satisfying tonal chordal vocabulary, with the 'higher dissonances' bathing the music in the illuminating glow of stained glass; and a rich polyphony reminiscent of mediaeval models - the composer mentions Robert Carver specifically. The emotional content of the Marian texts is handled with sensitivity and poignant expressiveness, and it is easy to miss the subtly novel textures and techniques - hummed accompanimental lines, little unexpectedly dissonant harmonic embellishments - that heighten the emotional impact without drawing attention to themselves. A very beautiful, sublimely spiritual aspect of MacMillan's output. Texts included. Cappella Nova; Alan Tavener. SACD hybrid