Communion motet for Ascension Day, for SATB chorus a cappella
Roman Breviary, Matthew 28: 18,19 (L)
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St Columba's Church, Maryhill, Glasgow
Strathclyde University Chamber Choir / Alan Tavener
Choral level of difficulty: Level 2 (5 greatest)
In writing the Strathclyde Motets MacMillan set out to write a series of communion motets of only moderate difficulty which would be of real and lasting use for average church or concert choirs. Aware that much of his choral music to date could be too challenging for average use, these new motets provide a very welcome opportunity for almost any choir of reasonable attainment and ambition to sing some contemporary music of real value.
Data est mihi omnis potestas is a richly scored, uplifting, celebratory motet for one of the major feast days of the Christian year. The opening rising interval (a 9th in the first soprano and first tenor, and 7ths and 5ths in the other parts) launches the piece in a heavenward trajectory and the double choir scoring gives it a surround-sound blaze of musical light. It creates a memorable impression.
A second section gives the ATB an accompanying role whilst the sopranos sing Monteverdi-like cadenza passages in falling thirds. Roles are reversed at the end with these passages being given to the T/Bs. A final outburst of three sky-rocketing Alleluias ends the motet. Slightly more challenging than the other motets in the Strathclyde Motets series but still very straightforward in terms of MacMillan’s output. Issues of blend and balance highlighted by the double choir scoring will probably use more rehearsal time than note-learning.
Repertoire note by Paul Spicer
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
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