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James MacMillan: Stabat mater. Album by The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia

James MacMillan: Stabat mater. Album by The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia

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The world premiere recording of James MacMillan's Stabat mater (Please note, this is not a recording of the Sistine Chapel performance).

Diapason d’Or de l’Année - Musique Chorale 

Gramophone Recording of the Month - Click to read the full review

Album description

Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan, and performances of his new Stabat mater received rave reviews. The Sixteen gave the world premiere of this work at a series of concerts in October 2016 as well as recording the work for their own record label, CORO. For MacMillan, 'beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith' and the Stabat mater is sure to be profoundly shaped by his beliefs. But this is a work with deep roots and a universal message, a celebration of both tradition and radical renewal.

James MacMillan’s Stabat mater was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen and is dedicated to John Studzinski.


The Sixteen
Britten Sinfonia
Harry Christophers


'It's stunningly composed and also magnificently performed... under Harry Christophers's inspired direction.' The Times 

'Christophers’s adoration of MacMillan’s Stabat mater radiates out of every moment of this compelling performance.' Gramophone, Recording of the Month 

'Wonderfully sung; profoundly moving.' The Observer

'a magnificent achievementBBC Radio 3 Record Review

'a masterpiece'

'Warmly recommended.' Choir & Organ 

'Even by the Sixteen’s world-class standards, the power and passion with which the 26 professional singers tackled MacMillan’s ferocious choral demands — from austere plainsong to stratospheric solos, and from whispers and chordal clusters to ravishing close harmonies — sent tingles down the spine.'  The Times (on the Sistine Chapel performance, 22 April 2018)

'Both sides of MacMillan are to be found here, the devotional and the painter of bold dramatic canvases - the former in the ethereal writing for solo and ensemble voices, the latter in the lacerating blows and feverish anxieties depicted in the string ensemble.' Financial Times (on the premier performance, Barbican, 15 October 2016)

'It's not often that the composer of a new work gets a standing ovation, but then every new work isn't like James MacMillan's Stabat mater' The Times (on the premiere performance, Barbican, 15 October 2016)

Behind-the-Scenes video

Track Listing

1. Stabat mater (plainsong)

James MacMillan (b.1959)
Stabat mater
2. Stabat mater dolorosa
3. Quis non posset contristari
4. Sancta Mater, istud agas
5. Fac, ut portem Christi mortem