Macmillan: Stabat Mater

Coro: COR16150

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Macmillan: Stabat Mater


Gramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Contemporary

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2017



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Release date:

3rd March 2017




59 minutes


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Macmillan: Stabat Mater


Stabat Mater (plainsong)


Stabat Mater

world premiere recording


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Read our exclusive interviews with James MacMillan and Harry Christophers about the project.

Includes the world premiere recording of James MacMillan's Stabat Mater.

Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan, and performances of his new Stabat Mater are eagerly anticipated. The Sixteen gave the world premiere of this work at a series of concerts in October 2016 as well as recording the work for their own record label, CORO. For MacMillan, 'beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith' and the Stabat Mater is sure to be profoundly shaped by his beliefs. But this is a work with deep roots and a universal message, a celebration of both tradition and radical renewal.

James MacMillan: Stabat Mater (Plainsong)

Stabat Mater (Plainsong)

James MacMillan: Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater dolorosa

Quis non posset contristari

Sancta Mater, istud agas

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem

February 2017


“his Stabat Mater is both moving and original in its word-setting and especially in its creation of atmosphere”

The Guardian

12th March 2017


“It’s a devastatingly powerful evocation of Mary’s agony, balancing impassioned choral writing with equally intense, occasionally violent, work for the strings of the Britten Sinfonia...Wonderfully sung; profoundly moving.”

The Scotsman

10th April 2017


“There is deference to the power of plainsong in the chanted opening, the timelessness of which feeds into the sublime harmonic journey of the ensuing movements. MacMillan’s unfolding of the text and its instrumental halo are masterfully judged. I defy any atheist not to be moved by such a profound musical interpretation of religious belief.”

Gramophone Magazine

May 2017

“…without doubt the work's impact is immeasurably heightened by the exceptional performance it receives here…Christopher's adoration of MacMillan's Stabat Mater radiates out of every moment of this compelling performance…the Britten Sinfonia have tremendously incisve rhythmic bite.”

Classical CD Review

April 2017

“This is an amazing high emotion choral masterpiece in MacMillan's distinctive style, incredibly difficult for the singers and the string orchestra. The recording was made October 31 / November 1, 2016 in London's St. Augustine's Church, and engineers have captured the rich sounds of the venue in proper perspective…An important issue!”

Choir & Organ

May 2017


“Macmillan’s visceral approach to word-setting can generate genuine and immediate emotional involvement in his listeners…Warmly recommended.”

BBC Music Magazine

June 2017


“His vivid, trenchant string writing is realised with striking clarity by the Britten Sinfonia in this recording, made just a fortnight after the same performers gave the world premiere last October in London. The Sixteen’s singing is predictably high in quality. Cries, shouts, whispers, glissandos, episodes of ululating melisma, all feature…in [MacMillan’s] quest to render musically the visceral emotional content of the Stabat Mater”

MusicWeb International

30th May 2017

“Even though I am sure there is much more in this Stabat Mater than I have yet discerned I am already confident that it is a masterpiece. It should be heard by anyone who values eloquent contemporary music.”

Classical Ear

21st June 2017


“Its stark but searing beauty is brilliantly illuminated by the powerfully nuanced voices of The Sixteen and the poetically rich accompaniment of the Britten Sinfonia, by turns cosseting and excoriating.”

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