MacMillan: Seven Last Words from the Cross (CD Review - Choir and Organ, 2005)


The two premiere recordings on this disc are the Te Deum and On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. The former is stunning, containing many of MacMillan's characteristics: beautiful contrapuntal lines often highly decorated, dramatic harmonic writing and blocks of sound from the organ. Thankfully this setting will rise above a limited liturgical use. The latter is a delicate, poignant work for five-part choir and organ that MacMillan, always sensitive to the text, does so well. Stephen Layton and Polyphony revisit the Seven Last Words to give this masterpiece a moving, introspective performance. Particular praise must be given to the sopranos, who are severely tested throughout and come through with flying colours.

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