MacMillan: Tenebrae - Cappella Nova - The Irish Times

James MacMillan describes his 30-year-old Missa Brevis as "a form of archaic counterpoint given a modern flavour".

That mixture of old and new, an atmosphere that blends the here and now with elsewhere, informs a lot of the choral music on this disc, mostly with a sophistication that's well beyond the scope of the early mass.

The sense of inhabiting different worlds persists through pieces that vary hugely in the technical demands they make of the singers. Some of the flavours seep in through harmonic colouring, others through vocal ornamentation. Scotland's Cappella Nova (for whom the challenging Tenebrae Responsories were written) sing everything here with affecting, communicative directness.


The Irish Times