Reviews for MacMillan Premiere

 
Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh  
   

The historic Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, was packed on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 (sold out weeks in advance!) for the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Since it was the day of preparation…, a work co-commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria, with the Edinburgh Festival, Hebrides Ensemble, and Kings Place. The Hebrides Ensemble (cello, clarinet, horn, harp, theorbo), directed by cellist William Conway, joined forces with vocal quartet Synergy Vocals and solo bass Brindley Sherratt, who sang the central role of Christ. Reviews for the 80-minute work, based on the resurrection narrative from the Gospel of St. John, are coming in with high praise.

 

 

The Times (London) * * * * *
“... wonderfully rich in its musical tapestry ... weaves together austere plainsong and highly charged, very 21st-century interludes ... It's the best new work that I’ve heard from MacMillan for a while; a worthy successor to his 2007 St. John Passion ... Superb performances all round."—Richard Morrison, The Times (London)

The Herald (Scotland) * * * *

"James MacMillan has lavished his compositional mastery generously on his new work, Since it was the day of preparation ... an indescribably pluralist display that features plainchant-style, chorales, hymns and inevitable and irresistible folk-tinged melodies and harmonies ... The music ranges in mood from austere to warm and tender, from the purity of intensity to the almost relaxed expansiveness of a music that knows percisely its purpose ... The performance was broad, blazing and stunning."—Michael Tumelty, The Herald (Scotland)

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Bachtrack * * * *

"The writing was wonderfully clear, very dramatic and, in many places, quite beautiful. ... produced some very exciting and emotive listening ... some of the most interesting ensemble writing I have heard ... I found this performance completely engaging."—Alan Coady, bachtrack.com

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The Scotsman * * * *

"This treatment of the Resurrection story ... is much more intimate ... than the larger Passion ... a supreme clarity of texture, the unbridled simplicity of which heightens the emotional impact. This was an impressive first performance by the Hebrides Ensemble."—Ken Walton, the Scotsman

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Seen and Heard

"The work rises to a climax at the reinstatement of Peter, beautifully accompanied to bard-like strains on the theorbo and harp, and the final passage for the four singers and the instrumental quintet is haunting in its beauty and directness ... stunning playing of the five members of the Hebrides Ensemble. Synergy Vocals sung with rich beauty."—Simon Thompson, "Seen and Heard" (MusicWeb International)

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