James Macmillan: Stabat Mater
Christophers, Harry; The Sixteen; Britten Sinfonia
Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan and his belief that "beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith" is profoundly present in his new setting of the Stabat mater. Arguably one of the mos tpowerful poems in the liturgy, only a small number of composers have tackled the Stabat Mater in the last 30 years and the musical world has waited a long time for a substantial setting. In James MacMillan's version we are witness to a new and intensely personal work which encapsulates the power of the poem in a way no other composer has done to date. Harry Christophers writes: "James digs deep underneath the surface of this 13th century Marian hymn meditating on Mary's suffering as she stands at the foot of the cross. He speaks of 'a painful world of loss, violence and spiritual desolation' and the score is packed to the full with those intense feelings. Our collaboration with the Britten sinfonia on this project has been a marriage made in heaven - both groups have had long associations with James's music and both give of their all in bringing this score to life." Sir James MacMillan writes: "It was a great delight and honour to respond to The Sixteen...I regard Harry Christophers' choir as one of the great choirs of the world and their standards of vocal brilliance and blend are unsurpassed."