Author Archive

‘Ave Maria, mater Dei’ on BBC Radio 3 (again!)

December 15th, 2018 No comments

I was thrilled to hear that my recent work Ave Maria, mater Dei was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 again this month, on Record Review. The piece was incredibly well received by the panel of critics and the CD as a whole was one of their Records of the Year. Some of the nice comments about my piece included: ‘The Cooke is remarkable…in the background you get a flickering of candles, a halo of light, in the middle is a male choir adoring the Virgin’; ‘The soprano solos in the Cooke are absolutely beautiful’; ‘An incredibly striking piece’; ‘An angelic halo effect…amazing…beautiful’. I’ll take that.

Categories: Press Tags:

On Not Writing Music…

November 26th, 2018 No comments

As the year winds its way to a no-doubt unsatisfactory conclusion, it dawned on me that 2018 has been my least productive year as a composer since I was in my mid-teens – all in all I have composed two works in 2018 at a grand total of fifteen minutes of music. And both of those pieces were finished in January during a brief and regrettably unrepeatable period of fecundity which resulted in four works in six weeks! Now, I have a good reason for not composing more, a 90,000 word book which will be in all good bookshops (who am I kidding…’select university libraries’) in 2019 that has curtailed much compositional activity, but it got me thinking about how little I had actually missed the act of composing, how infrequently I had found myself at a piano with the intention of creating something new – surely that shouldn’t be the case for someone who confesses to having the profession of composer? Should I be worried? Read more…

Categories: Opinion Tags:

‘Ave Maria, mater Dei’ on BBC Radio 3

November 17th, 2018 No comments

It was nice to hear that my recent motet Ave Maria, mater Dei (2017) will be featured on BBC Radio 3 Choir & Organ this Sunday (18/11/18). The recording is the recent release from The Sixteen from their album Star of Heaven which explores the Eton Choirbook with newly composed motets in response to their medieval antecedents.

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‘Raising Sparks: James MacMillan at 60’

November 17th, 2018 No comments

The first fruits of my work on James MacMillan (that has taken up much of the past two years) was recently published in the magazine Cathedral Music (the magazine of the Friends of Cathedral Music). It is a light, general interest article, but I hope it gives a good introduction to the man and his music in preparation for his 60 birthday.

Categories: Opinion Tags:

‘Ave Maria, mater Dei’ in Cumnock and on CD

October 5th, 2018 No comments

The autumn sees the Scottish premiere of my motet Ave Maria, mater Dei (2017) that was first performed by The Sixteen and the Choirboys of Eton College at Eton in May this year. The performers will again be The Sixteen and will take place at The Cumnock Tryst music festival in Ayrshire on Sunday 07 October. The piece has recently been recorded by the choir and will be released on a CD entitled Star of Heaven on The Sixteen’s CORO label in November. Looking further ahead, there are performances of my song-cycle Lakesongs (2011) and my motet Nunc Dimittis (2017) in Aberdeen in November.

Categories: Performance Tags:

New Videos

September 9th, 2018 No comments

With a forthcoming performance of my song-cycle Lakesongs on the horizon, I thought it a good time to revisit some of my other works in the genre and to create the rolling score videos to accompany these works. I’ve made videos for Lakesongs (2011), Sudden Light (2013) and Four Tonal Songs (1996) as well as the short choral work Wedding Introit (2013) that was performed last month. It was something to do…

Categories: Performance Tags:

Revised Works

August 18th, 2018 No comments

As most of my creativity this year has been spent on my book, The Music of James MacMillan, I haven’t found the time to compose much, in fact nothing really. I did, however, find the time to revise four early choral works of mine from 2005-2010 which I felt were in need of a bit of love and attention. The four works were mainly from the beginning of my time in Oxford (and earlier): O magnum mysterium (2005), Three Marian Motets (2008), Whither Thou Goest (2008) and God is Our Strength and Refuge (2010). Most of the revisions I made were minor and cosmetic including some word underlay, swapping parts and a general tidy up. I made a bigger change to the middle of Whither Thou Goest as the syncopations had never made any sense. Previous versions of these pieces are still fine to perform from, but the newer versions are a bit better. PAC

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Composer in Residence

June 23rd, 2018 No comments

I recently took on the position of Composer in Residence with The Harry Ensemble, who I wrote the piece Veni Sponsa Christi for in 2015 and have since gone on to perform it many times in the UK, Norway, Sweden and most recently in Barcelona. The choir will perform my motet Nunc dimittis later this year and I will be writing them some new works in the coming years. Looking forward to working with the choir and their director Edward Rhys Harry.

Categories: Lectures / Pre-Concert Talks Tags:

Head of Music

June 23rd, 2018 No comments

I have recently taken on the role of Head of Music at the Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen, where I have been working for the past five years. I shall be fulfilling this position for the next three years and hope to carry on the good work of my predecessors.

Categories: Lectures / Pre-Concert Talks Tags:

The Month Ahead

April 30th, 2018 No comments

May is a month of premieres, performances, broadcasts and recordings. The Chor Akademicki Politechniki Warszawskiej will give the premiere of my new Magnificat on the 10 May in the university in Warsaw, this followed a week later (16/05) by the premiere of my Fourth Service [St Pancras] as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, which will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong. The month continues with the premiere of Ave Maria, mater Dei by The Sixteen and the choristers of Eton College at Eton (22/05, live streamed on Classic FM), with The Sixteen recording the work later in the month for CD release next year. The month ends with the King’s College Choir of Aberdeen performing Locus iste (26/05) and The Harry Ensemble giving the Spanish premiere of Veni Sponsa Christi (2015) in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on the 27th.

Categories: Performance, Premiere Tags: