Markus Stenz / Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

St Luke Passion

Price: € 20.95
Format: SACD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917267129
Catnr: CC 72671
Release date: 18 March 2015
✓ in stock
€ 20.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72671
Release date
18 March 2015

"['']...Macmillan has created a unique and powerful piece that should not be ignored...['']"

Music Web International, 01-8-2015

About the album

Following his sensational St John Passion (2007), the St Luke Passion is the second passion to be completed by the Scottish composer James MacMillan. MacMillan’s attachment to the story of the Passion stems directly from his deep-rooted Roman Catholic faith. The list of his works contains a range of vocal compositions that deal with the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ: from his music theatre work Visitatio Sepulchri for choir and chamber ensemble (1993) and the cantata Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993) to the Tenebrae Responsories (2006) for eight-part a cappella choir. He regularly draws inspiration from the story of the Passion, even in his purely instrumental works. In the Fourteen Little Pictures for piano trio (1997), the composer’s starting point is the fourteen Stations of the Cross of Jesus. And the first two parts of his orchestral triptych Triduum, The World’s Ransoming and the Cello Concerto (1996), contain melodic material derived from the Gregorian liturgy for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. This catalogue backs up MacMillan’s comment in The Times newspaper to the effect that he regards the Crucifixion and Resurrection as ‘the most important days in the history of the world’. This was part of an interview in 2009, with the telling headline ‘My art is shaped by my faith’. It was therefore always likely that, sooner or later, MacMillan would submit to the genre of Passion oratorio with an instrumental accompaniment.
However, it came as a major shock to many among the Passion-loving audience at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s concert on Palm Sunday 2009 when MacMillan’s truculent St John Passion resounded throughout the concert hall instead of Bach’s Matthew or John Passion. Where had the arias and chorales gone? Why had MacMillan utilized the Good Friday Improperia (the
‘Reproaches of Christ’) as well as the Gospel? And most of all, why was the Evangelist replaced by a four-part chamber choir?
Like most of his colleagues, MacMillan had of course listened attentively to Bach. But as a British musician he also felt a close affinity with his compatriots who had taken the choir centre-stage over the past hundred years, including Vaughan Williams, Tippett and Britten.

De wereldpremière van de tweede passie van MacMillan
Op Paaszondag 2009 was het publiek geschokt toen het Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest de agressieve St. John Passion van de Schotse componist James MacMillan opvoerde in plaats van de Mattheus- of Johannespassie van Bach. Waar waren de koralen en aria’s gebleven? Waarom had de componist zowel het Improperia als het evangelie gebruikt? En het belangrijkste: waarom werd de evangelist vervangen door een vierstemmig kamerkoor?

Het werk werd uiteindelijk toch goed ontvangen, en het was slechts een kwestie van tijd tot MacMillan een nieuwe passie componeerde. Deze nieuwe passie is de St. Luke Passion, die op dit album is opgenomen. In tegenstelling tot de St. John Passion is deze nieuwe passie kleinschalig, compact en kalm. In de St. Luke Passion wordt MacMillans katholieke geloof ingetogen uitgedrukt met een opmerkelijk aantal middelen. Het werk vormt de perfecte balans tussen drama en religieuze meditatie.

James MacMillan is een van de meest talentvolle componisten van deze tijd. Zijn muzikale stijl kent invloeden van Schotse, Katholieke, Keltische, Oosterse, Scandinavische en Oost-Europese muziek. Hij kreeg internationale erkenning na het succes van de uitvoering van The Confession of Isobel Gowdie op de BBC Proms in 1990. Sinds die tijd zijn z'n werken over de hele wereld opgenomen en uitgezonden.
Nach dem rauschenden Erfolg seiner Johannespassion war es nur eine Frage der Zeit, bis sich James MacMillan, einer der kunstfertigsten Komponisten unserer Zeit, erneut der Gattung der Passion zuwenden würde. Seine Verbindung zur Passionsgeschichte ist tief verwurzelt in seinem römisch-katholischen Glauben und beeinflusst nicht nur die Komposition seiner Passionen, sondern auch eine Vielzahl anderer Werke, die sich mit der Kreuzigung und dem Tode Jesu beschäftigen. So manifestiert sich sein starker Glaube hier ein weiteres Mal in einer perfekten Balance zwischen Drama und religiöser Meditation.
Dopo la sua impressionante Passione secondo Giovanni (2007), la Passione secondo Luca è la seconda passione che il compositore scozzese MacMillan ha portato a termine. L’attaccamento di MacMillan alla storia della passione discende direttamente dalla sua profonda fede cattolica. L’elenco delle sue opere comprende una serie di composizioni vocali che affrontano la crocifissione e la morte di Gesù Cristo: dalla sua opera teatrale Visitatio Sepulchri per coro e ensemble da camera (1993) e dalla cantata Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993) ai Tenebrae Responsories (2006) per coro a cappella a otto parti. Egli trae ispirazione regolarmente dalla storia della Passione, persino nei suoi lavori puramente strumentali. Nei Fourteen Little Pictures for piano trio (1997), il punto di partenza del compositore sono le quattordici stazioni della Via Crucis. E le prime due parti del trittico orchestrale Triduum, The World’s Ransoming e il Cello Concerto (1996), contengono materiale melodico derivato dalla liturgia gregoriana rispettivamente per il Giovedì e il Venerdì Santo. Questo catalogo conferma il commento di MacMillan apparso sul Times, secondo cui la Crocifissione e Resurrezione come «i giorni più importanti nella storia del mondo». Questa frase faceva pare di un’intevista del 2009, dal titolo esplicativo «La mia arte è forgiata dalla mia fede». Era quindi probabile che, presto o tardi, MacMillan avrebbe affrontato il genere della Passione-oratorio con accompagnamento strumentale. Tuttavia, per molti degli appassionati presenti al concerto della Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, nella domenica delle Palme del 2009, è stato scioccante quando per tutta la sala da concerto risuonava la truculenta Passione secondo Giovanni di MacMillan, invece della Passione secondo Matteo o Giovanni di Bach. Dove erano finite le arie e i corali? Perché MacMillan aveva utilizzato gli Improperia del Venerdì Santo oltre al Vangelo? E soprattutto, perché l’Evangelista era sostitutivo da un coro da camera a quattro parti? Come molti dei suoi colleghi, MacMillan aveva naturalmente ascoltato con attenzione Bach. Ma, in quando musicista britannico, aveva anche sentito una forte affinità con i suoi compatrioti che negli ultimi cent’anni avevano affidato un ruolo centrale al coro, compresi Vaughan Williams, Tippett e Britten.


James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.
MacMillan first became internationally recognized after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990.
His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which
has received more than 400 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and three symphonies. Recent major works include his
St John Passion co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra,
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Choir, his Violin Concerto, Viola Concerto, St Luke Passion and, most recently, his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie, co-commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s
insight he brings to each score. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic until 2013 and was Composer/ Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2000-2009; he has conducted orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic,
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra among others. MacMillan was Composer in Residence at the 2012 Grafenegg Festival and a London Symphony Orchestra Portrait Artist in the 2009/10 season.
In spring 2014 MacMillan conducted three projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, culminating in a ground-breaking tour to India with Nicola Benedetti performing in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi including
public concerts, schools concerts and outreach work. In the 2014/15 season, MacMillan conducts orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia. In January 2015 he conducts a new production of his opera, Inés de Castro, at Scottish Opera and elsewhere this season conducts choral concerts in Sao Paulo and with the BBC Singers. In October 2014 MacMillan founded his music festival, The Cumnock Tryst, which takes place in his native Ayrshire.



['']...Macmillan has created a unique and powerful piece that should not be ignored...['']
Music Web International, 01-8-2015

["].. The recording is of the world premiere, and while there is occasional scruffiness in the orchestral playing, you wouldn't swap the immediacy and commitment for a more carefully tailored alternative."
BBC Music Magazine, 01-7-2015

['']...The virtuoso organ part, demanding much from the instrument itself (a huge sustained cluster in chapter 23 takes dangerous risks with wind supply), dovetails splendidly with an orchestra which, while described as 'modest' in size, nevertheless packs a powerfull punch with some fabulously full-blooded and scintillating playing...['']
GRAMOPHONE, 01-7-2015

Stars 4/5
Diapason, 01-7-2015

"A great composition, a subliminal performance and a very enjoyable recording, what more can one ask for?" 
Opus Klassiek, 01-7-2015

"..a performance which is always compelling and occasionally electrifying. ... full-blooded and scintillating playing."
Gramophone, 15-6-2015

At 8 in the official Classical Chart! ['']...MacMillan's mighty choral work proves popular...['']  
BBC Music Magazine, 01-6-2015

['']...A powerful interpretation that casts fresh light on the Gospel..['']
Northern Echo, 14-5-2015

"St. Luke Passion provides a nice balance, from the beginning to the end." 
Crescendo Magazine, 09-5-2015

The Independent, 18-4-2015

"This live recording of the premiere in Amsterdam, conducted by Markus Stenz, shows the music good at portraying the extremes of almighty power and frail piety." 
Financial Times, 18-4-2015

['']...This live recording of the premiere in Amsterdam, conducted by Markus Stenz, shows the music good at portraying the extremes of almighty power and frail piety, but the personal, human level is missing...['']
Financial Times, 18-4-2015

['']...The instrument's power contrasts sharply with another of MacMillan's innovations, in which the part of Christ, usually taken by a low male soloist, is sung instead by a children's choir, a deliberate ploy to convey Christ's innocence...['']
The Independent , 18-4-2015

The Independent, 17-4-2015

['']...The imposing organ, which figures so highly in the work, contrasts sharply with another innovation, in which the part of Christ, usually taken by a low male solist, is sung by a children's choir...['']
The Independent , 17-4-2015

['']...MacMillan's singular, potent mix of tradition and novelty has earned its following...['']
The Observer, 12-4-2015

"MacMillan's St Luke emphasises the violent and all too human drama of the Passion story."
The Observer, 12-4-2015

3*** ["].. MacMillan's voice, however, is unmistakable."
Financial Times, 07-4-2015

['']...It impresses, but doesn't always move...['']
The Guardian, 07-4-2015

"Where Bach's passions draw the listener into a private confrontation with mortality that can transcend individual belief, MacMillan is exactingly theological."
The Guardian, 07-4-2015

"Enhanced by the singers' and the Britten Sinfonia's vibrant performance, it came across with considerable verve." 
Financial Times, 07-4-2015

"MacMillan's take is, characteristically, both orthodox and innovative."
Presto Newsletter, 06-4-2015

"A wonderful passion for our time, great performed." 
Trouw, 03-4-2015

"The power of the piece is the quality of his setting with the choral, where for he has developed an extraordinary talent." 
Het Parool, 02-4-2015

"This disc is a 'must' for all admirers of James MacMillan's music and further evidence of the effective way that Challenge Classics has championed his music in the last few years." 
Music Web International, 01-4-2015

"A contemporary work that illuminates the different facets of the passion with a subtle and expressive sound design."
SR Weltmusik, 31-3-2015

"This is a grand choral work with simple tools, of which you hope it will be performed again very often.”
NRC Handelsblad, 30-3-2015

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