Netherlands Radio Choir & Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic
BIS presents two world première recordings: Visitatio Sepulchri for chorus and chamber orchestra (a recording of the version for solo voices already exists) and the a cappella Sun-Dogs. As with so much of MacMillan’s production, both works reflect the composer’s deep involvement with matters of the Roman Catholic faith. The longer work is a setting of a medieval liturgical drama which describes the scene from the New Testament where three women go to visit the Holy Sepulchre on the day after Christ’s crucifixion, and learn that he has risen from the dead. Throughout its five movements, Sun-Dogs swings between light and dark interpretations of canine character and actions, as though asking itself repeatedly where these noble yet savage animals fit within a religious interpretation of the world.
With music that combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation, James MacMillan (b. 1959) has rapidly established himself as a leading international composer.