MacMillan - Stabat mater | Coro COR16150

MacMillan - Stabat mater


In stock - available for despatch within 1 working day

Label: Coro

Cat No: COR16150

Barcode: 0828021615023

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 3rd March 2017

Gramophone Editor's Choice



The Sixteen
Britten Sinfonia


Harry Christophers



Stabat mater (plainsong)

MacMillan, James

Stabat mater


The Sixteen
Britten Sinfonia


Harry Christophers


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 most powerful 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.

James MacMillan’s new Stabat mater was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen and is performed by them with the Britten Sinfonia, in a continuation of the ensemble’s close relationship with MacMillan.

‘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.’ - Harry Christophers

‘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.’ - Sir James MacMillan


James MacMillan’s masterly Stabat mater ... [is] a devastatingly powerful evocation of Mary’s agony, balancing impassioned choral writing with equally intense, occasionally violent, work for the strings of the Britten Sinfonia. It never flinches from its purpose to bear witness to Mary’s grief and to offer a universal message of consolation to grieving mothers everywhere. Wonderfully sung; profoundly moving.  Stephen Pritchard
The Observer 12 March 2017
As you would expect from a composer whose Catholicism is such a powerful force in his creative process, this is a deeply personal setting. This is immediately evident from the impassioned, closely knit shimmering strings which create an unmistakable aura of anguish at the very opening of the work. ... We are so used to the excellence of The Sixteen that we are in danger of taking the supreme quality of their work for granted. But the closely knit choral clusters, ethereally drawn together with a remarkable unity of tone, and the intense, fervid textures, astonishingly nuanced, almost as if they are a single living, breathing entity, put them in a class of their own.  Marc Rochester (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone May 2017

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