James MacMillan, BBC Singers, BBC Philharmonic - The Birds Of Rhiannon

Wednesday 1st January 2003
James MacMillan, BBC Singers, BBC Philharmonic - The Birds Of Rhiannon

STYLE: Classical
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 6685-
LABEL: CHAN 9997
FORMAT: CD Album

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

"The Magnificat", our opening track, was a BBC Millennium commission and is a powerful setting for Mary's famous song. The following "Nunc dimittis" works less well for me but is still a bold attempt, as is the "Exsultet" (track three), with all three featuring Jonathan Scott on the organ. So much for MacMillan the Catholic. The rest of the album shows us MacMillan the Gaelic nationalist with his lovely choral settings of Evan MacColl's "Mairi" and Burn's "The Gallant Weaver". And then we have what MacMillan describes as "a dramatic concerto for orchestra with a mystical coda for choir" in his "The Birds of Rhiannon" adapted from the Welsh Mabinogion. Challenging material but well worth exploring.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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