James MacMillan's Seven Last Words

by Bill Morelock, Minnesota Public Radio
April 21, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — If you heard last Friday night's Minnesota Orchestra broadcast on Classical Minnesota Public Radio, or attended the concert at Orchestra Hall, you've already been introduced to James MacMillan's music. Jean-Yves Thibaudet played the Scottish composer's dynamic new Piano Concerto No. 3.

Thursday evening you can hear a work from a different era -- and different musical world -- in MacMillan's career. His work for Holy Week, Seven Last Words from the Cross is often referred to as his masterpiece.

MacMillan was just 34 when the BBC commissioned Seven Last Words in 1993. A cantata for mixed chorus and string orchestra, it was originally broadcast in seven nightly episodes during Holy Week the following year.

We'll hear a performance recorded live at The Hague last year. It features the Netherlands Chamber Chorus and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, led by Peter Dijkstra.

James MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross will air Thursday night at 8 on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

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