James MacMillan / Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic

Work for chamber orchestra with soloists

Price: € 12.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917263824
Catnr: CC 72638
Release date: 02 May 2014
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 12.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72638
Release date
02 May 2014

""All six are full of rhythms and contrasts -of kinds of beautifully orchestrated medleys and one faith almost put together for a large Symphony Orchestra." "

Crescendo Magazine, 09-5-2015

About the album

It is something of a cliché to observe that James MacMillan’s music reflects both his spiritual and his social engagement, and that very often these two aspects of his work come together and complement each other. Nevertheless, the music on this recording shows how such concerns genuinely do make themselves felt in the composer’s chamber and orchestral work. While Kiss on Wood has a specific spiritual dimension, the other three works all have links to MacMillan’s native Scotland, whether historical (as in ...as others see us...), geographical (as in From Ayrshire), or mining deep cultural layers in order to react to very contemporary concerns (as in Tuireadh).
The title of From Ayrshire, scored for violin and orchestra and written in 2005 for Nicola Benedetti, arose, says the composer, from their both having Ayrshire backgrounds. The first movement is certainly nostalgic. The second is altogether more earthbound, it is an explosion of energy, a bounding release from melancholy. Melancholy is the dominant emotion in Tuireadh (1991). The work (for clarinet and string orchestra) is an instrumental requiem for those who lost their lives in the Alpha Piper North Sea oil and gas rig disaster in 1988. The title of the work is the Gaelic word for “lament”, and the austere, folk-inflected quality of much of the writing suggestsprecisely a keening, a communal wailing for the departed. Kiss on wood for solo cello and strings is, as the composer said, a devotional work. ...as others see us..., scored for chamber orchestra, is a musical depiction of seven portraits in the National Portrait Gallery in London. They are all portraits of English people: Henry VIII, the poet John Wilmot (Earl of Rochester), John Churchill (Duke of Marlborough), Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot and the chemist Dorothy Hodgkin. Linking together these seven portraits of portraits, so to speak, is a Scottish dance tune, which is varied in each section in order to reflect the character of the person portrayed and the historical period.
Het derde deel uit de MacMillan serie
Dit album bevat vier werken voor kamerorkest en solisten van James MacMillan, uitgevoerd door de Radio Kamer Filharmonie, onder leiding van de componist zelf. MacMillan trad vaak op als gastdirigent voor de Radio Kamer Filharmonie, die inmiddels is opgeheven.

Het is een soort cliché om op te merken dat de muziek van James MacMillan zowel zijn spirituele als zijn sociale betrokkenheid weerspiegelt, en dat deze aspecten van zijn werk vaak samenkomen en elkaar aanvullen. Desondanks laten de werken op dit album goed zien hoe deze aspecten zichzelf manifesteren in de kamermuziekwerken van de componist.

Kiss on Wood heeft een spirituele dimensie. De andere drie werken zijn verbonden met het Schotland van MacMillan. …As others see us… richt zich op de historie en From Ayrshire op de geografie. Ten slotte gaat Tuireadh over het uitgraven van culturele lagen om te kunnen reageren op hedendaagse problemen.

James MacMillan is een van de meest talentvolle componisten en dirigenten van deze tijd. Zijn muzikale stijl kent invloeden van Schotse, Katholieke, Keltische, Oosterse, Scandinavische en Oost-Europese muziek. Hij dirigeerde talloze orkesten, zoals het Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic en het Rotterdams Filharmonisch Orkest.
James MacMillan dirigiert seine eigenen Werke mit dem großartigen Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic.

Die Kompositionen von James MacMillan sind bekanntermaßen geprägt von seinen spirituellen und politischen Lebenseinstellungen. Dies ist auch in den Werken dieser Aufnahme erkennbar: „Kiss on Wood“ hat seinen eindeutig geistlichen Bezug im musikalischen Material, das aus einem Kirchengesang stammt. Die anderen drei Werke sind mit MacMillans Heimat Schottland verbunden. In „As Others See Us“ werden Persönlichkeiten der Geschichte Schottlands Denkmäler gesetzt, geographische Reminiszenzen sind in dem zweisätzigen Werk „From Ayrshire“ umgesetzt. In „Tuireadh“ erinnert James MacMillan an all die Menschen, die 1988 ihr Leben bei der Katastrophe auf der Ölplattform Alpha Piper verloren haben.


James MacMillan read music at Edinburgh University and took Doctoral studies in composition at Durham University with John Casken. After working as a lecturer at Manchester University, he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow. The successful premiere of Tryst at the 1990 St Magnus Festival led to his appointment as Affiliate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002 he was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Music of Today series of contemporary music concerts. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor, working as Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic between 2000 and 2009, and appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic from 2010. He was awarded a CBE in January 2004.

In addition to The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which launched MacMillan's international career at the BBC Proms in 1990, his orchestral output includes his first percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1992 and which has since received close to 500 performances worldwide. MacMillan's music has been programmed extensively at international music festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival in 1993, the Bergen Festival in 1997, the South Bank Centre's 1997 Raising Sparks festival in London, the Queensland Biennial in 1999, the BBC Barbican Composer Weekend in 2005 and the Grafenegg Festival in 2012. A documentary film portrait of MacMillan by Robert Bee was screened on ITV's South Bank Show in 2003.

Works by MacMillan from the 1990s also include Seven Last Words from the Cross for chorus and string orchestra, screened on BBC TV during Holy Week 1994, Inés de Castro, premiered by Scottish Opera, a triptych of orchestral works commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra: The World's Ransoming, aCello Concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, and Symphony: 'Vigil' premiered under the baton of Rostropovich in 1997, and Quickening for The Hilliard Ensemble, chorus and orchestra, co-commissioned by the BBC Proms and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

MacMillan works composed in the 2000s include Piano Concerto No.2 first performed with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon at New York City Ballet, A Scotch Bestiary commissioned to inaugurate the new organ at Disney Hall with soloist Wayne Marshall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and The Sacrifice premiered and toured by Welsh National Opera in 2007. His St John Passion, co-commissioned by the LSO, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Radio Choir, was premiered under the baton of Sir Colin Davis in 2008.

The past five years have brought a successful sequence of concertos: for violinist Vadim Repin, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (his third piano concerto), oboist Nicholas Daniel, violist Lawrence Power and percussionist Colin Currie (his second percussion concerto). Orchestral scores have included Woman of the Apocalypse premiered by Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival and performed by the São Paulo Symphony in 2014. Works with choir include a festive setting of the Gloria (to mark the 50th anniversary of the consecration of Coventry Cathedral) and a new setting of the St Luke Passion for chorus and chamber orchestra. His one-act chamber opera Clemency has been performed in London, Edinburgh and Boston, and his first opera Inés de Castro receives a new production by Scottish Opera in January 2015. 2014 saw MacMillan launching a new music festival in his home town of Cumnock.

In terms of recordings, the Koch Schwann disc of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and Tryst won the 1993 Gramophone Contemporary Music Record of the Year Award, and the BMG recording of Veni, Veni, Emmanuelwon the 1993 Classic CD Award for Contemporary Music. MacMillan discs on the BIS label include the complete Triduum conducted by Osmo Vänskä, the clarinet concerto Ninian and the trumpet concertoEpiclesis. A MacMillan series on Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic includes The Berserking, Symphony No.3: 'Silence' which won a Classical Brit award in 2006, Quickening and The Sacrifice. Other acclaimed recordings include Mass and Seven Last Words from the Cross on Hyperion and discs on the Naxos, Black Box, Coro, Linn, LSO Live and Challenge Classics labels.



"All six are full of rhythms and contrasts -of kinds of beautifully orchestrated medleys and one faith almost put together for a large Symphony Orchestra." 
Crescendo Magazine, 09-5-2015

Editor's Choice "MacMillan paints musical portraits from out of time and space. The now disbanded Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic pounce upon the music with all the tenacity of an emsemble led by the composer - the colours and wit in the music sparkle." Stars 4/5
Limelight, 04-5-2015

["].. A survey of the prolific Scottish composer's chamber music reveals many and exciting facets of a musician best known for his large-scale works."
Sinfini Music, 15-12-2014

The orchestra plays with great precision and commitment and MacMillan is a fine enough conductor for us to be sure that these performances can be thought of as definitive. The recorded sound is rich and lifelike.
International Record Review, 15-10-2014

 “piercing portraits and Scottish concerns” 
The Observer, 14-10-2014

The music of MacMillan surprises me everytime. The excellent Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic.
Luister, 01-10-2014

BBC Music Concerto Choice It's hard to imagine any of these performances being bettered.
BBC Music Magazine, 01-9-2014

MacMillan at his most imaginative and inventive best exploring the limited resources of a chamber orchestra, these are compelling performances given particular impact under the composer’s taut direction. The brief second movement is a dazzling exhibition of violinistic virtuosity in which Roth shows breathtaking brilliance.
Gramophone, 18-8-2014

A must for devotees
Northern Echo, 14-8-2014

This is a strong programme, powerfully played with a manic drive to violinist Linus Roth's performance of the mad reel in From Ayrshire
Sunday Herald, 10-8-2014

With a few welcome CD premieres Challenge does an excellent job here. A lof of praise also for the precise, solid performances by soloists and orchestra.
Musicalifeiten, 08-5-2014

"The recording from June 2012 is as the previous recordings fantastic"

"It's hard to imagine any of these performances being bettered."
BBC Music Magazine

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