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James MacMillan’s prolific output, especially in vocal music, is being matched by many professional choirs and vocal groups. The Sixteen and Harry Christophers recently released a superb disc (Miserere) on their own label, and here is another fine disc of church music by MacMillan, this time from the Scottish-based Cappella Nova under their director Alan Tavener. Thirteen individual items (some from the Strathclyde Motets) are given committed readings by Tavener and his forces, with perfectly judged tempi and fine balance between the parts in warm but not too resonant acoustics. The disc is completed by the Mass of Blessed John Henry Newman (using the new translation of the Catholic liturgy), an immensely approachable work which takes as its starting point a quotation from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The liner notes include a valuable interview with the composer and full texts and translations. A notable addition to the MacMillan discography.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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