for unison voices (with optional divisi) & organ
Text: Latin (attributed to Pop Innocent VI)
Duration: 4 minutes
A rapt meditation on this sacramental medieval poem, composed to mark the 400th anniversary of the of St John Ogilvie at Glasgow Cross in 1615 in a performance by pupils from six local junior schools. Masterfully cast with young children in mind, the vocal material is expressive and diatonic throughout, with some optional divisi. The organ accompaniment is soft, with gentle manual clusters giving a punctuating effect in the outer sections, framing a central passage of sustained chordal texture. Momentary chromatic tension in the postlude is dispelled by a peaceful resolution.
Born in Scotland in 1959, James MacMillan studied at Edinburgh and Durham Universities and now lives in Glasgow. His early successes as a composer in the 1990s included The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, premiered at the BBC Proms, and the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel written for Evelyn Glennie. MacMillan has a special interest in choral composition, ranging from simple liturgical settings for use in church services, to major works for choir and orchestra including Seven Last Words from the Cross, Quickening and St John Passion. His music has been championed and recorded by leading choirs and vocal groups including Cappella Nova, Polyphony, The Hilliard Ensemble, The Sixteen, Westminster Cathedral Choir and the Netherlands Chamber Choir. With their Gaelic inflections and characteristic mixing of ancient and modern, his works have also proved popular with amateur chamber choirs around the world.