Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor)
James MacMillan is renowned for his highly original yet accessible choral music. His prolific output displays an intrinsic understanding of the human voice and his music will undoubtedly stand the test of time. MacMillan’s work is inseparable from its composer’s committed adherence to Roman Catholicism. A sense of this religious belief imbues much of his work, which seeks to combine the sacred with the everyday.
This disc highlights the astonishing variety prevalent in his music, from the powerful and stylistically complex Magnificat and Nunc dimittis to the beautiful and intimate On Love composed in Macmillan’s student days for the wedding of close friends.
Wells Cathedral Choir is in fine voice and they tackle the more challenging works with aplomb and conviction. With their sensitive interpretations and luminous sound it is easy to see why they have been labelled England’s finest cathedral choir.
The closing work on the disc is a hugely demanding work for solo organ, Le tombeau de Georges Rouault, one of only five works for the instrument written by the composer. Organist Jonathan Vaughn gives a masterly performance of this highly virtuosic and elaborate work.