MacMillan St. Luke Passion New York Premiere

James MacMillan

The New York Choral Society will perform the New York premiere of James MacMillan's masterwork, the St. Luke Passion, at St. Bartholomew's Church on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

James MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation, and his music combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation. MacMillan's St. Luke Passion, co-commissioned by SDG, is his second Passion, composed after the St. John Passion in 2007 as part of his lifetime goal to set all four Gospel Passion accounts to music.

When the world premiere of the St. Luke Passion took place at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, reviews ranged from "Imposing, bold and sincere (deVerdieping Trouw) to "Musically wrenching sounds" (De Volksrant).  One reviewer, who made a plea for more performances, appears to be getting his wish:

“The performance was superb and MacMillan was visibly moved by the audience reception. Please can we agree here and now to hear this work every year around Easter time?”—Het Parool

The U.S. premiere that followed at Duke University in April 2014 brought equally high praise, with one reviewer describing the work as "musical language ... that penetrates veils of time" (CNVC). Now, with the New York premiere occurring in another April season, it seems that a tradition is being established.

In contrast, however, to traditional Passion settings where soloists and the Evangelist provide the narrative, MacMillan wrote his St. Luke Passion with the narrative portions to be sung by the chorus. In addition, he scored Jesus's words to be sung by a children’s choir. As MacMillan explains,“Employing a children’s choir grants a measure of innocence to Christ as the sacrificial lamb.”

James MacMillan’s new poignant St Luke Passion belongs in the same category as the Scotsman’s masterpiece Seven Last Words From the Cross.”—deVerdieping Trouw

St. Bartholomew's Church
St. Bartholomew's Church, New York

MacMillan's St. Luke Passion

Saturday, April 8, 2017
8:00 p.m.
St. Bartholomew's Church
325 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022

New York Chorale Society
David Hayes, Conductor

Jason Roberts, Organist
Brooklyn Youth Chorus

For further information, visit New York Choral.