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Cappella Nova - Who are these Angels? - It’s Not Opera Blog


13 December 2011
It’s Not Opera Blog

Cappella Nova released their second album of premiere recordings of new works by Scottish composer James MacMillan this week on Linn Records. A partner to their 2007 album, Tenebrae. A wonderful programme of premiere recordings with guest artists John Kitchen (organ) and the Edinburgh Quartet. Cappella Nova follow on from their 'undeniably beautiful' (The Financial Times) Linn debut, James MacMillan:Tenebrae, with their second volume of choral works by the leading contemporary composer. The outstanding Scottish group have a unique relationship with James MacMillan, the composer having written several works for them. All of the tracks are premiere recordings, recorded under the supervision of MacMillan, whose fascinating conversation with Rebecca Tavener on his new works are included here. Who are these Angels? includes the last of the Strathclyde Motets, seven of which were included on Tenebrae.

Cappella Nova, founded in 1982 by Alan and Rebecca Tavener, has an unrivalled reputation as champions of Scotland's unique treasury of early vocal music. The group is also "famous for its performances of contemporary music" (The Guardian), having
commissioned and premiered more than 60 new works since 1986. These include John Tavener's monumental three-hour oratorio, Resurrection (1990), broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and James MacMillan's cantata for Holy Week Seven Last Words from the Cross (1994), which was the subject of seven short films for BBC2 TV. In 1996 they recorded the award-winning soundtrack by William Sweeney for the Tartan Short film an iobairst. In 2003 they provided ensemble vocals for the critically-acclaimed album Hate by The Delgados. In 2009 they premiered Red, the first a cappella work by Craig Armstrong. Also in 2009, the group appeared in the BBC Scotland television documentary Grace Notes, singing medieval and renaissance Scottish sacred music.


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