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.
Pascha nostrum immolatus est is a joyful, celebratory motet for one of the church’s great Feasts. I sometimes wonder if James MacMillan has set the word ‘alleluia’ more than any other composer! Here, too, after the initial paean of praise, floating alleluias pass between all parts in a kind of spiritual ecstasy. A solo soprano furthers the idea of hovering angels a little later and of a sense of improvisation over a static accompaniment. Beautiful, timeless music.
Repertoire note by Paul Spicer