A review of music written using Latin texts in service of the liturgy of the Catholic Church encompassing music written in all periods with a concentration on contemporary composers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Splendoribus Sanctorum

If James MacMillan had been a name well known in musical circles before the papal visit he's probably graduated to close on 'household' name after the visit has been and gone. Primarily his English text setting the Mass of Blessed John Henry Newman put his name to the forefront attracting good and bad press according to the opinion, and the axe to grind, of the reviewer. His Latin text motet Tu es Petrus may have not received as much media attention, indeed I could have well missed it completely without a tip from a blogger, it was the only new Latin text music comissioned for use during the papal visit. Neverthless with these two pieces we see the two extremes of MacMillan's liturgical output. At the one the 'congregational' Mass setting beset by many difficulties beyond the composer's control, and at the other end a free standing motet where the composer was able to work free from certain limitations and pressure groups. With this in mind we take a step back a few years to a piece that seems to be able to straddle both the needs of an ordinary parish with the forward thinking aspirations of an innovative composer well versed in the music of his own time. The following link will take you to sample pages of MacMillan's motet In Splendoribus Sanctorum which is an interesting contribution to the seasonal repertoire.

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