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James MacMillan - Cappella Nova - The Observer


28 October 2007
The Observer
Stephen Pritchard

William Byrd produced his greatest work in a time of religious persecution. While James MacMillan wouldn't claim that composers today face the same dangers, he does believe that secular fundamentalism is growing as a counterpart to religious fundamentalism, preventing discussion of spiritual matters. These marvellous, astringent new works - his ‘Tenebrae Responsories', ‘Strathclyde' motets and a reworking of his youthful ‘Missa Brevis' - are in part a reaction to the current atmosphere and offer eloquent ripostes to those who would denigrate sincere belief.
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