horizontal line

Following the success of Cappella Nova’s previous two recordings of choral works by James MacMillan, their latest offering is to be greeted warmly. The group’s reputation was made in 16th-century polyphony, but this 18-voice ensemble is equally at home in MacMillan's contemporary idiom. They certainly respond to MacMillan’s polyphony – which, in turn, could be regarded as the composer’s own response to the glories of Tallis, Byrd et al – with consummate mastery. The composer himself draws a fine performance of his Missa Dunelmi, written for the choir of Durham Cathedral, while Alan Tavener takes responsibility for the rest of this well-programmed CD, which includes St Patrick’s Magnificat and several motets, concluding with Alpha & Omega. MacMillan’s inclusion of a violin obbligato in the Ash Wednesday motet Domine non secundum peccata nostrum is particularly attractive, with the violin offering a kind of wordless commentary to the text. A clean, well-focused recorded sound serves both the music and Cappella Nova, and the disc is enhanced by a fascinating interview with the composer in the booklet. Essential listening and a fine addition to MacMillan on disc.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Choir & Organ, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing