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The Sixteen Edition - Bright Orb Of Harmony - Purcell, Macmillan


Release Date: 05/12/2009 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16069   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Henry PurcellJames MacMillan
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

2009 is a year of anniversaries - the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Henry Purcell's birth (1659), James MacMillan's fiftieth birthday (16 July 2009) and The Sixteen's thirtieth anniversary. To celebrate, the ensemble has recorded live a brand new disc of music dedicated to these most innovative of British composers. Purcell's extraordinary use of harmony sounds as modern today as it must have sounded in the seventeenth century. Putting his heartfelt Funeral Sentences alongside James MacMillan's powerfully emotive A Child's Prayer, written in memory of the Dunblane Tragedy, and his hauntingly beautiful O bone Jesu (a piece originally commissioned by The Sixteen) will give the listener the chance to experience the true power of Read more this music. The Sixteen's national Choral Pilgrimage will take this wonderful programme to twenty venues throughout England, Scotland and Wales over the next nine months performing to thousands of people. "Christopher's choir, The Sixteen, is arguably the most visible professional choral ensemble in Britain" The Times (London)

R E V I E W S:

The Sixteen have had phenomenal success with their precise yet agreeable choral singing, especially in their native Britain; this release carries a strip billing the group as "the voices of Classic FM," the crossover network that has, depending on whom you ask, either saved classical music in Britain or destroyed it. Of course the truth is somewhere in between. The program here is innovative and sticks in your head -- for this The Sixteen and director Harry Christophers deserve credit. The combination of short choral pieces by Henry Purcell and by contemporary composer James MacMillan is meant to assert some kind of gauzy continuity in British music. It works, but only with a bit of sleight of hand: Christophers makes Purcell sound quite a bit like MacMillan, whose extended harmonies are characteristic of contemporary choral repertoire. His music fits The Sixteen well, as recognized by commissioning the motet O bone Jesu; here the group explores his music in greater depth, including the powerful A Child's Prayer (track 8). This work originally commemmorated the Dunblane school massacre of 1996, and, tragically, it has lost none of its relevance. But it's the Purcell performances here that are really unusual. The Sixteen apply their sweet sound to every dissonance in the music, and this approach reveals just how many of them there are. That in turn links the music back to MacMillan. It all hangs together, and it's remarkably effective even if, for some, it may be just a bit artificial, especially with booklet notes that attempt to convince you that you're being religious when you listen to music whether you realize it or not.

James Manheim, All Music Guide
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Works on This Recording

1. Jehova, quam multi sunt, Z 135 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1680; England 
2. Miserere mei, Z 109 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
3. Remember not, Lord, our offences, Z 50 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1680-1682; England 
4. Beati omnes qui timent Dominum, Z 131 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1680; England 
5. Let mine eyes run down with tears, Z 24 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1682; England 
6. O dive custos Auriacae domus, Z 504 "Elegy for Queen Mary II" by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1695; England 
7. Funeral sentences by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
8. O bone Jesu by James MacMillan
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; Scotland 
9. Strathclyde Motets: Mitte manum tuam by James MacMillan
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
10. Strathclyde Motets: Sedebit Dominus Rex by James MacMillan
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
11. A Child's Prayer by James MacMillan
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Scotland 

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