Author Topic: James MacMillan  (Read 12111 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3684
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2012, 06:42:48 PM »
I entirely agree but it always surprises and distresses me when certain people are affronted by the source of an artist's inspiration and, as a consequence, are not prepared to admire the resulting creation.

You might as well deny the beauty of medieval church architecture.
I think there's a Brian Ferneyhough quote that's apropos here: I don't have the source to hand but he essentially argues that even though he's an atheist and his music (pace the Missa Brevis, of course) has no religious meaning, it is still in many regards culturally Christian due to the centuries-long historical impact of its forebears and influences.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44277
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells on Magic Nights
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2013, 08:44:00 AM »
MacMillan is a composer who has been creeping more and more into my subconscious. I'll be honest and say that I've not listened to any of his music in quite some time. What are everyone's favorite MacMillan works?
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2013, 09:40:03 AM »
I think you'd really like MacMillan's music, John. His music is explosively powerful and he doesn't shy away from dissonance, but yet it is strongly communicative. MacMillan is able to compose some of the most shattering climaxes ever heard in music, as well as some of the most still near-silences. Listening to his music at a consistent volume level can be quite difficult! My favorite MacMillan works are those contained on this superb Chandos disc: Symphony no. 3 Silence and what is perhaps his masterpiece, the shockingly powerful The Confession of Isobel Gowdie:



There are many more discs of his music on Chandos and BIS, all of which I recommend. After investigating the above Chandos disc, try this BIS disc which contains some spiritually transcendent (but far from the minimalist drivel of Part and Taverner) music, but not without the usual MacMillan violence:



 :)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 09:42:01 AM by kyjo »

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44277
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells on Magic Nights
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2013, 10:01:44 AM »
Thanks, Kyle. I own all the BIS and Chandos orchestral recordings in addition to Colin Davis/LSO Live recording, so no need to make recommendations in regard to recordings. ;) I need to give his music another go quite soon. He's certainly an interesting composer. I remember enjoying The Berserking with Martin Roscoe on piano. Need to revisit this recording some time today.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2013, 10:09:14 AM »
Thanks, Kyle. I own all the BIS and Chandos orchestral recordings in addition to Colin Davis/LSO Live recording, so no need to make recommendations in regard to recordings. ;) I need to give his music another go quite soon. He's certainly an interesting composer. I remember enjoying The Berserking with Martin Roscoe on piano. Need to revisit this recording some time today.

The Berserking is another great work; very rhythmical and with less emphasis on soul-searching darkness and agony than most of his other works. I was actually reminded a little of Tippett in places.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44277
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells on Magic Nights
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2013, 10:14:32 AM »
The Berserking is another great work; very rhythmical and with less emphasis on soul-searching darkness and agony than most of his other works. I was actually reminded a little of Tippett in places.

Ah, yes, Tippett now here's another composer I love except for his awful operas with the exception being The Midsummer Marriage. His symphonies, concertante works, The Rose Lake, and A Child of Our Time are enough to catapult him into my top 15 favorite composers.

Nice avatar change by the way. I can't say I'm particularly impressed with Mennin's music though.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2013, 10:30:02 AM »
Ah, yes, Tippett now here's another composer I love except for his awful operas with the exception being The Midsummer Marriage. His symphonies, concertante works, The Rose Lake, and A Child of Our Time are enough to catapult him into my top 15 favorite composers.

Nice avatar change by the way. I can't say I'm particularly impressed with Mennin's music though.

Tippett's not one of my favorites, but I enjoy some of his music and listen to it every now and then. I'm not a big fan of his symphonies (no. 3 is particularly repelling to me) or operas. My favorite Tippett works are the PC, The Rose Lake, Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli, and the Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage. My opinion is that Tippett was a very uneven composer. The works I list as my favorites are some of the most sublime works of the 20th century, but then there are truly awful works like the New Year's Suite!

I've really been getting into Mennin's music lately. Its relentless motoric rhythms and stormy darkness I find quite compelling. Like Schuman's (a composer Mennin criticized for being a "populist"), Mennin's later symphonies can be rather tough going, but they are fascinating works nonetheless. I wasn't enthralled with some of his music either at first listening, but, like with so many other 20th century composers, repeated listening led to greater appreciation of his music. Give him another go! :)

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44277
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells on Magic Nights
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2013, 10:41:33 AM »
Tippett's not one of my favorites, but I enjoy some of his music and listen to it every now and then. I'm not a big fan of his symphonies (no. 3 is particularly repelling to me) or operas. My favorite Tippett works are the PC, The Rose Lake, Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli, and the Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage. My opinion is that Tippett was a very uneven composer. The works I list as my favorites are some of the most sublime works of the 20th century, but then there are truly awful works like the New Year's Suite!

I've really been getting into Mennin's music lately. Its relentless motoric rhythms and stormy darkness I find quite compelling. Like Schuman's (a composer Mennin criticized for being a "populist"), Mennin's later symphonies can be rather tough going, but they are fascinating works nonetheless. I wasn't enthralled with some of his music either at first listening, but, like with so many other 20th century composers, repeated listening led to greater appreciation of his music. Give him another go! :)

Please don't ever mentione New Year's Suite again!!! >:( :D You don't like A Child of Our Time? ??? That could very well be considered his magnum opus. I like all of his symphonies actually and find the 3rd no less enjoyable. Yes, he's an uneven composer but I can overlook this as his masterworks far outweigh any missteps he's made along the way. I think one of the most beautiful things about Tippett is his honest communication through his music. He may fall flat on his face, but he gets right back up again.

Mennin just doesn't seem very interesting to me and I consider Schuman the better composer by a long shot. There's not one work by Mennin I've heard where I thought "Oh! I want to hear that again!"
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2013, 10:56:20 AM »
Please don't ever mentione New Year's Suite again!!! >:( :D You don't like A Child of Our Time? ??? That could very well be considered his magnum opus. I like all of his symphonies actually and find the 3rd no less enjoyable. Yes, he's an uneven composer but I can overlook this as his masterworks far outweigh any missteps he's made along the way. I think one of the most beautiful things about Tippett is his honest communication through his music. He may fall flat on his face, but he gets right back up again.

Mennin just doesn't seem very interesting to me and I consider Schuman the better composer by a long shot. There's not one work by Mennin I've heard where I thought "Oh! I want to hear that again!"

A Child of Our Time is a beautiful work, but I don't really go for the political/social message Tippett is trying to convey in it. I wish I could just concentrate on the music, but I can't. I'm being kind of unfair to Tippett, I guess, but I'm not really motivated to listen to most of his music that much. Back to MacMillan.....

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #49 on: July 01, 2016, 09:50:30 AM »
Latest on Forbes:



James MacMillan In The Countryside
Contemporary Music Festival in Neuberg an der Mürz

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/07/01/contemporary-music-in-the-countryside/#4543307f1094


Usually it is chamber music that I seek when I make musical trips into the countryside… partly because Munich –
if and when I am based there – is not a terribly good place for chamber music. When based in Vienna, the situation
is not quite as dire, if only for the efforts of the Wiener Konzerthaus whose chamber music cycle(s) do all the heavy
 lifting and whose chamber music venues – the Mozart- and Schubert-Hall – are absolute jewels… acoustically and
atmospherically better than the sarcophagus-like Brahms-Saal of the the Musikverein. There’s a bit of contemporary
music going on in Vienna, too, but much of that either of the fig-leaf variety (done to satisfy the abstract notion
that it should be done, but with little heart behind it) or in the damp prison cell of avant-garde niche-ism (“Wien
Modern”, which has thus devolved). I’ve certainly never gone as far for a contemporary music festival as Neuberg
an der Mürz – which is located somewhere between Vienna and the end of the world...


Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 11663
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2016, 12:16:08 PM »
I work part-time in a Catholic school. The other day they performed Macmillan's 'St Anne's Mass' at a religious service. I was surprised at how main stream it sounded but really liked it. As it is for 'congregation' rather than professional choir there is no CD version. However, on the strength of it I bought Macmillan's Mass and other sacred works - the first CD of his music in my collection I think. I thoroughly enjoyed the CD which is modern and yet approachable.

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 5against4

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • 5:4
  • Location: The Cotswolds
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2016, 07:06:01 AM »
I work part-time in a Catholic school. The other day they performed Macmillan's 'St Anne's Mass' at a religious service. I was surprised at how main stream it sounded but really liked it. As it is for 'congregation' rather than professional choir there is no CD version. However, on the strength of it I bought Macmillan's Mass and other sacred works - the first CD of his music in my collection I think. I thoroughly enjoyed the CD which is modern and yet approachable.



That disc is really excellent, vandermolen - one i've returned to many times over the years.

But has anyone else heard his new 'Seven Angels'? i experienced it on Wednesday as part of the Cheltenham Festival (review here) and was pretty staggered at how basic and banal it was, almost as though a student had written it (and that's not hyperbole; i mean it quite seriously). i know MacMillan is hardly 'cutting edge', but even bearing that in mind he seems to have become wildly inconsistent in recent years. Very odd.

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1377
  • Location: Wales
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #52 on: January 23, 2018, 09:02:24 AM »
I've been on a bit of a MacMillan kick over the last day or so. Which has resulted in my ordering the recording of his "Vigil" Symphony. I've only got a few discs of his music currently, but I've listened to all of them in the last 24 hours or so. I got a little taster of the Symphony on Spotify and I love what I've heard of it.

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20348
    • Brian's blog
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2018, 09:10:10 AM »
The Dallas Symphony will be performing his Trombone Concerto live next month.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 50727
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #54 on: January 23, 2018, 09:31:02 AM »
The Dallas Symphony will be performing his Trombone Concerto live next month.

Attending?  I shall take an interest in your report.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1377
  • Location: Wales
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2018, 02:15:10 AM »
The "Vigil" Symphony is amazing! Parts of it have the surging ecstatic energy of a work like Messiaen's Turangalila-Symphonie.

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1377
  • Location: Wales
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2018, 07:39:48 AM »
I've now ordered the disc containing the first two parts of Triduum (a triptych of which the "Vigil" Symphony mentioned above is Part 3). The World's Ransoming, for cor anglais and orchestra, and the Cello Concerto. Looking forward to hearing them, and how all three works tie together.

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1377
  • Location: Wales
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2018, 11:00:37 AM »
This evening I'm listening to the entire Triduum triptych. And there occurs in The World's Ransoming an element I've noticed in other MacMillan works that I find very interesting, and I associate with him. And that is the simultaneous playing of slow and fast music. Your mind is often attracted to the faster music, but every so often, you just pay closer attention to the slower music in the background. Another example of this is the closing few minutes of his early work Tryst. It's like you have this lively and racing music, and then something more slow and solemn at the same time.

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1377
  • Location: Wales
Re: James MacMillan
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2018, 10:30:15 PM »
I've added considerably to my MacMillan collection this year, as the previous posts indicate. In the eight months since the last post, I've picked up:

- The Confession of Isobel Gowdie/Symphony No. 3 (BBC Philharmonic/MacMillan)
- A Scotch Bestiary/Piano Concerto No. 2 (Marshall (organ/piano)/BBC Philharmonic/MacMillan) - Ordered a week ago...hoping it's here today.
- St. John Passion (London SO/Davis) - Ordered yesterday.

After many years, I'm finally expanding my collection, and the works are so rewarding.