1 800 222 6872

MacMillan: Seven Last Words from the Cross / Layton, et al

Album Summary

>MacMillan, James : Seven Last Words from the Cross, cantata for choir and string orchestra
>MacMillan, James : On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, for chorus
>MacMillan, James : Te Deum
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"... 'On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin,' for choir and organ, is, by contrast, one of MacMillan's very finest works. Even the very unusual little organ solo at the end, very reminiscent of Messiaen, fits in seamlessly. The performances and recording are superb... the music will reward anyone who has been following this always-interesting composer's development. Certainly, the two shorter pieces, here receiving their first recordings, are as good as anything being written now." -John Story, Fanfare

'MacMillan has a tremendous gift for making the simple resonate; the 2001 Te Deum, a first recording, shows he also knows just how to freshen an ageing choral tradition. Some fantastic singing here; and glorious music' (The Times)

'James MacMillan's work is informed by his Catholic faith, but rarely has he communicated his spiritual message as effectively as in this large-scale piece. Perhaps Haydn's example has forced him to raise his game, or maybe it was the heartrending text: either way, this is a modern choral masterpiece, and Stephen Layton and his forces its ideal interpreters' (The Independent)

'In an ideal world, Hyperion's August disc of the month would sell by the truckload. The sheer quality of James MacMillan's Seven Last Words, the intensity of Stephen Layton's interpretation and the unrestrained, heartfelt performances of Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia should guarantee critical acclaim' (Music Week)

'an intense, deeply felt interpretation, full of beautiful and affecting singing, with all the elements - string orchestra, featured violin, choir and soloists - nicely balanced ... As ever, MacMillan incorporates all his allusions, including those to Scottish traditional music, into an utterly individual style. The performance confirms Polyphony's place in the front rank of choirs' (Gramophone)

'This splendid new performance from Polyphony also conveys dignity, and a sense (hard to explain) that the suffering is, in some mysterious way, redemptive. Easier to quantify, the singing is also remarkably secure technically, the ensemble near perfect. Beautiful, powerful playing too from the Britten Sinfonia' (BBC Music Magazine)

'... the qualities which have made Polyphony one of the finest choirs around at the moment are very much in evidence in these assured and perceptive performances. James Vivian's organ accompaniments are perfectly balanced and the overall recorded sound is exquisite. All told, this disc offers a mesmerising listening experience' (International Record Review)

'This stunning work, brilliantly performed by Stephen Layton's chamber choir Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia, is something no serious lover of choral music should be without' (Birmingham Post)

'If you've heard them and followed the laudatory press they've gotten worldwide, you already know that this [Polyphony] is one of the world's truly great chamber choirs. Layton always gets breathtaking beauty of tone from them, as well as exquisite interpretive and dynamic nuances. They bring Macmillan's compelling sound-world to life more vibrantly than any other choir I've heard his music from. Organist Vivian and the Britten Sinfonia supply excellent support, and Hyperion seals the bargain with rich, clean SA sound that's a joy to hear' (American Record Guide)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Seven Last Words was commissioned by the BBC in 1993 for Holy Week 1994, when it was broadcast in seven short programmes, a 'word' per day. It remains a highly compelling work. Under Stephen Layton, it certainly receives an impressive performance; an intense, deeply felt interpretation, full of beautiful and affecting singing, with all the elements - string orchestra, featured violin, choir and soloists - nicely balanced.

The other two works, On the Annunciation ofthe Blessed Virgin (1997) and Te Deum (2001), receive their premiere recordings. On theAnnunciation is an intricate but approachable setting for five-part choir and organ of a poem by the 17th-century poet Jeremy Taylor. The luminous lines for voices finally give way to a gradually fading dance for organ. The echoes of Messiaen in this device are matched by some of the organ chords and figures in the dramatic Te Deum, written to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. From the contemplative opening phrases for male voices, somewhat reminiscent of Mahler's Urlicht, a dazzling part emerges for solo soprano, sung in characteristically stunning fashion by Elin Manahan Thomas. As ever, MacMillan incorporates all his allusions, including those to Scottish traditional music, into an utterly individual style. The performance confirms Polyphony's place in the front rank of choirs.



Reviews

There are currently no reviews, be the first one!
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased



Previous


Next


Works Details

>MacMillan, James : Seven Last Words from the Cross, cantata for choir and string orchestra
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Britten Sinfonia
  • Notes: St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden, Suburb (04/01/2004/04/02/2004)
  • Running Time: 45 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1993

>MacMillan, James : On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, for chorus
  • Performer: James Vivian (Organ)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Britten Sinfonia
  • Running Time: 6 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>MacMillan, James : Te Deum
  • Performer: James Vivian (Organ)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Running Time: 15 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary