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Tenebrae - Macmillan: New Choral Music / Tavener, Et Al


Release Date: 11/01/2007 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 301   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  James MacMillan
Performer:  Richard Wyn RobertsAlexander L'EstrangePaul CharrierMicaela Haslam,   ... 
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

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A near-ideal survey of MacMillan’s church music, beautifully recorded

James MacMillan’s Strathclyde Motets are aimed at “good church choirs or good amateur choirs”, and the seven recorded here hit the mark pretty unerringly, in that the technical means are simple and the expressive ends rich. If I was in that world, I’m sure I would look forward to singing these pieces again and again.

Composed when he was 17, the Missa brevis shows where a significant part of MacMillan’s musical personality comes from. Like the recent
Read more motets, it blends the archaic and the modern, using modes as the interface (acknowledged models are Kenneth Leighton and Britten) and treading a fine but sure line between the luxurious and the self-denying. The three Tenebrae Responsories – sung by eight core members of Cappella Nova – are made of sterner stuff, but no more so than is appropriate to the darker textual substance.

Listening at a stretch to 70 minutes of this consoling, numinous music arguably goes against its function as conceived, and wall-to-wall a cappella voices (with a highly effective trumpet obbligato from Mark O’Keeffe in the second motet) could easily become too much of good thing. But such is the purity of the singing and the aptness of Greyfriars Kirk acoustic, beautifully captured by Linn’s engineering, that the duty of reviewing was never anything but a pleasure.

One of the most attractive features of this disc is the booklet interview between the composer and a member of the choir (whose questions about Gesualdo and Poulenc, among other things, are precisely on target). Done as intelligently by both parties and avoiding self-congratulation, as here, this format is ideal for a CD of new music; just the absence of dates of composition is slightly frustrating.

-- David Fanning, Gramophone [1/2008]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tenebrae Responsories (3) by James MacMillan
Performer:  Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Paul Charrier (Bass),
Micaela Haslam (Soprano), Edward Caswell (Bass), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Tom Phillips (Tenor), Graham Neal (Tenor)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2006; Scotland 
Venue:  Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 19 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, Scotland (04/18/2007 - 04/21/2007) 
2.
In splendoribus sanctorum by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Missa Brevis by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; rev 2007 
4.
Factus est repente by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Videns Dominus by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Data est mihi by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Mitte manum tuam by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Scotland 
8.
Dominus dabit benignitatem by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Sedebit Dominus Rex by James MacMillan
Performer:  Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor), Richard Wyn Roberts (Countertenor), Edward Caswell (Bass),
Graham Neal (Tenor), Tom Phillips (Tenor), Rebecca Tavener (Soprano),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Micaela Haslam (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alan Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Scotland 

Sound Samples

The Strathclyde Motets: Mitte manum tuam (Stretch forth your hand)
The Strathclyde Motets: In splendoribus sanctorum (Amidst the splendours of the heavenly sanctuary)
Give me justice, O God
Missa Brevis: Kyrie
Missa Brevis: Gloria
Missa Brevis: Sanctus
Missa Brevis: Agnus Dei
Missa Brevis: At the Conclusion
The Strathclyde Motets: Data est mihi omnis potestas (It has been given to me)
The Strathclyde Motets: Sedebit Dominus Rex (The Lord will sit on his throne)
The Strathclyde Motets: Factus est repente (Suddenly, a sound came)
The Strathclyde Motets: Videns Dominus (When the Lord saw)
The Strathclyde Motets: Dominus dabit benignitatem (The Lord will bestow his loving kindness)
Tenebrae Responsories: Tenebrae factae sunt
Tenebrae Responsories: Tradiderunt me
Tenebrae Responsories: Jesum tradidt impius

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