New MacMillan CD of SDG Commission

Since it was the day of preparation CD

From its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival to its U.S. premiere at St. Bartholomew’s in New York, James MacMillan’s “resurrection” work, Since it was the day of preparation, co-commissioned by SDG, has been lauded as impressive and one of his best. This newly released CD is certain to become a classic for anyone who values sacred music.



Written as a ‘postscript’ to MacMillan’s St John Passion, Since it was the day of preparation… explores the biggest mystery in the greatest story ever told—Christ’s Resurrection. With just five instrumentalists and five singers, MacMillan’s scoring is as intimate as the story itself, one that is a tale of despair and sacrifice, but also ultimately of celebration. At times plaintive and lyrical, at others reaching into the far corners of tonality, this is a masterpiece of musical storytelling, finding a very human story in something Divine.



James MacMillan 
 James MacMillan

James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful living composers. His music is celebrated for its spiritual and emotional power, and he continually demonstrates, across the breadth of his compositions, his commitment to sacred music. MacMillan was awarded the 2013 British Composer Award in Choral Music for Since it was the day of preparation.

In an interview with SDG, McMillan explains that he conceived Since it was the day of preparation as “a smaller and much more intimate” sequel to his full-throated St. John Passion. MacMillan notes that, though composers from Bach onward have written monumental Passions of the biblical accounts of Jesus’s  crucifixion, the rest of the story has attracted less musical attention. “I think people are baffled by the Resurrection,” MacMillan says. “The Resurrection is more of a mystery” and “a shock to the whole human system.”




Hebrides Ensemble

Since it was the day is recorded by the Hebrides Ensemble, one of the foremost chamber music collectives in the UK, and Synergy Vocals, who have been described as “breathtakingly energetic and fiercely controlled” (The Telegraph, UK). They are joined by bass Brindley Sherratt in the role of Christ. Sherratt is well-known for his operatic performances from the Metropolitan Opera, to Covent Garden, and recently in his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

When these select musicians performed the world premiere of the work at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival, the response was extraordinary: “Wonderfully rich" (The Times, UK); "Broad, blazing and stunning" (The Herald, UK).


A highly impressive work. This accomplished and committed first recording … should bring the work to the wider audience it deserves.”—MusicWeb International (of the CD)

“Wonderfully committed recording, already feels like a modern masterpiece.”—BBC Music Magazine (of the CD)

“Wonderfully rich in its musical tapestry ... 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.”— The Times (London) (of the world premiere)

"James MacMillan has lavished his compositional mastery generously on Since it was the day of Preparation ... 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 precisely its purpose ... The performance was broad, blazing and stunning."—The Herald (Scotland) (of the world premiere)


  1. Introduction [3:08]Elizabeth Kenny - Theorbo

  2. The Pierced Christ [3:20]

  3. Interlude [2:36]William Conway - Cello

  4. The Burial [3:04]

  5. Interlude (Quintet)[4:18]

  6. The Empty Tomb [2:43]

  7. Interlude [4:07]Yann Ghiro - Clarinet

  8. The Appearance to Mary of Magdala [7:07]

  9. Interlude [3:11]Gabriella Dall Olio - Harp

  10. The Appearances to the Disciples [7:44]

  11. Interlude (Quintet)[4:08]

  12. The Appearance on the Shore of Tiberias [17:12]

  13. Interlude [4:09]Stephen Stirling - Horn

  14. Conclusion (Satbar) & Postlude (Quintet)[5:19]