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Cappella Nova - Who are these Angels? - InfoDad Blog


01 December 2011
InfoDad Blog

The "greatest hits" element of the CD called "Who Are These Angels?" is the Mass of Blessed John Henry Newman by James MacMillan (born 1959). MacMillan is strongly influenced by Scottish history and his Roman Catholic faith. He sometimes works with a folk band - but in 2010 he was asked to compose this Mass, which was fully in accord with his faith; he has in fact written several Masses. As Masses go, this one is quite short, but quickly became well-known because it was sung at two of the three Masses celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in Great Britain. The Mass was designed for choir and congregation; much of MacMillan's music is easy to learn and easy to sing, and this may account for its popularity. In addition to this Mass, the CD by Cappella Nova contains a variety of short liturgical works that will primarily be of interest to MacMillan's fellow Roman Catholics and to listeners interested in one direction that sacred music is taking in the 21st century. There is nothing particularly forward-looking either in this music or in its subject matter, which includes "Lux aeterna," "Benedictus Deus," "O Radiant Dawn," "Think of How God Loves You," and the work that gives the CD its title. Pleasantly written with straightforward affirmations of faith, these works break little new musical or dogmatic ground - which seems to be their whole point.
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