for double SATB chorus a cappella
Text: Latin (Anon, medieval)
Commissioned by Royal Holloway, University of London, for Rupert Gough and the Choir of Royal Holloway for the College's annual St Cecilia Concert held in 2012 on 24th November.
Cecilia Virgo, tuas laudes universa concinit musicorum turba,
et tuis meritis supplices a Deo exaudiri possint.
Juncta voce et uno corde tuum nomen invocant,
ut luctum mundi in paradisi gloriam mutare digneris;
tuosque pupilos, tutelaris Virgo, aspicere velis,
piam Dominam, inclamantes, et semper dicentes:
Sancta Cecilia, ora pro nobis.
O virgin Cecilia, the worldwide multitude of musicians sings your praises,
and through your merits, supplicants may be heard by God.
With one voice and a single heart they call upon your name,
that you may be worthy of turning the mourning of the world into the glory of paradise;
and may you be willing, O protecting Virgin, to look upon your orphans,
who call upon Our Lady most merciful, forever saying:
Holy Cecilia, pray for us.
Translation by Edward Tambling
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.