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Continuing their work with Scotland’s most prominent living composer, James MacMillan, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen will release the premiere recording of his exquisite new work Miserere for the CORO label in November.
The Sixteen’s UK premiere of the Miserere at the 2010 Spitalfields Festival won both public and critical acclaim. Based on Psalm 51, the Miserere mei has been set to music many times over the centuries but few composers have tackled the complete text. Allegri was one such composer, whose reputation rests on that single work. CORO is delighted to release the first recording of James MacMillan’s 21st-century take on the text.
The group is renowned for its work with the Scottish composer, and his O bone Jesu - a piece composed especially for The Sixteen and written in emulation of his countryman Robert Carver’s 19-voice O bone Jesu - was part of the ensemble’s 2002 and 2009 Choral Pilgrimage tours and features on this new CD.
The disc also contains a selection of The Strathclyde Motets and the Tenebrae Responsories.
Strathclyde Motets: Data Est Mihi Omnis Potestas
Strathclyde Motets: Dominus Dabit Benignitatem
Strathclyde Motets: Factus Est Repente
Strathclyde Motets: O Radiant Dawn
O Bone Jesu
Strathclyde Motets: Videns Dominus
Strathclyde Motets: Lux Aeterna
Strathclyde Motets: In Splendoribus Sanctorum
Strathclyde Motets: Benedicimus Deum Caeli
Tenebrae Responsories: I. Tenebrae Factae Sunt
Tenebrae Responsories: II. Tradiderunt Me
Tenebrae Responsories: III. Jesum Tradidit Impius
“The Sixteen's uniquely warm and graceful sound certainly seems to have tapped a particularly timeless and atmospheric vein in Macmillan's creative persona and he has here presented them with something which tests not so much their collective virtuosity as their most profround musical instincts...This disc bears testament to a rare and wonderful relationship between composer, choir and conductor.”
13th November 2011
“MacMillan not only imbibes the plainchant tradition of the medieval masters but embellishes it with his own distinctive touches...The Sixteen, directed by Harry Christophers, sing this music as if they really believe in it.”
18th November 2011
“James MacMillan has always shown a flair for dramatic portrayals of spiritual conflict: light against dark, anxiety and despair against consolation...The Sixteen surmount them all [technical demands] triumphantly, and make a sound of impassioned warmth and pinpoint accuracy.”
“One reason this disc makes such a resoundingly positive impression is that The Sixteen are thoroughly caught up in MacMillan's writing....at every the stage the singers are in focus technically and emotionally...With everything superbly recorded, this is a disc to return to often, and in which to discover new things each time.”
The Arts Desk
10th March 2012
“this collection of a capella choral music is astonishingly accomplished...The occasional flashes of sensuality make this music a real pleasure to listen to; like Poulenc, MacMillan can’t disguise his delight when sneaking into his sacred texts a particularly fruity chord progression...This is contemporary religious music for believers and doubters, and the performances are beyond praise. Astonishingly good.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.