JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Series, Vol. 2 - O for Treble Choir, Trumpet and Strings, Tryst for Orchestra, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Choir and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 07P079
Label: Challenge Classics
Description: Written when the composer was 30, Tryst is an early example of MacMillan's precocious mastery of ambitious, large-scale orchestral forces. Exploring the ramifications of a poem of love and farewell by William Soutar, the work, in its many moods, is full of youthful ardor and energy. MacMillan's characteristic tonality-based vocabulary is more apt to be obscured by exuberant orchestral effects in earlier works such as this than in the wonderfully harmony-driven works of subsequent decades, and some influences, such as neoclassical Stravinsky, are yet to be fully absorbed, but the composer's voice, especially his appropriation and amplification of the styles of Scottish folk idioms, is unmistakable. O - the vocative 'O', addressing Christ, here as 'The Radiant Dawn' - is a motet, beautiful, melodic and in this orchestral expansion of the original, as radiant as the title. The settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (which we offered in their versions with organ in July 2011) radiate a sense of awestruck praise and profound contemplation, the stately, homophonic choral textures suggesting vast spaces, filled with dazzling light at the shattering climax of the Magnificat. The music returns to serenity in the final 'amens' and the mesmerizing textures of the Nunc dimittis with its Messiaenic birdsong accompaniment, which transforms some of the same musical material. Texts included. Netherlands Radio Choir, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic; James MacMillan.