…here in hiding… is MacMillan’s most ambitious vocal work exploring medieval themes, both musically and poetically. St Thomas Aquinas’s text Adoro te devote is set both in Latin and in the English translation by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the plainsong chant is at the heart of the musical development. The work embraces a wide emotional range from meditative calm to penitential anguish. Originally composed for the solo voices of The Hilliard Ensemble, it can be performed by either soloists or choral forces. A solo tenor cadenza occurs some two thirds of the way through the work, followed by warmly expressive music and a fade-out which is highly effective.
It is challenging, as always, but well within the grasp of a good choral group who have good ears, an ability to pitch slightly awkward intervals and to sing fast chromatic passages with the characteristic ‘quick-turn’ MacMillan ornamentation. The sheer scale of this motet makes it a major undertaking, especially if sung by solo voices.