James MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. His music combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation. His St. Luke Passion, written in 2013, is the second Passion he composed after the St. John Passion in 2007 and his attraction to the Passion story stems from his deep-rooted Catholic faith.
St. Bartholomew’s Church Park Avenue at 51st Street New York City T
TICKETS $50 prime seating, $40 rear and balcony seating
James MacMillan (b. 1959) is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. His music combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spirituality. His choral music embraces sacred and secular, ancient and modern, meditative simplicity and rich ornamentation. MacMillan’s faith is central to his creativity and informs much of his choral music, whether capturing a mood of medieval meditation or reaching towards a state of spiritual ecstasy or contemplative peace.
His St. Luke Passion, written in 2013, is the second of four planned works, each based on one of the Gospels which aim to approach the differing passion accounts from contrasting stylistic perspectives. The St. Luke Passion is written for mixed chorus, children’s chorus, orchestra and organ. The adult chorus assumes the roles of evangelist and persecutors in music that is often highly dramatic. The words of Jesus are sung by a children’s chorus representing the innocence of Christ. The writing for the children is either in unison, symbolizing the oneness of Christ, or in three parts signifying the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The piece is framed by a Prelude exploring the Annunciation to set the scene, and a Postlude that goes beyond the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and Ascension.
NYChoral will be joined by the acclaimed Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dianne Berkun Menaker, Artistic Director and Organist Jason Roberts at New York’s historic St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue. This performance is the evening before Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.
NYChoral (New York Choral Society), founded in 1959, has become known for the quality of its performances and the diversity of its repertoire, which encompasses well-known choral masterworks as well as many compositions rarely heard in concert halls. NYChoral has presented eleven world premieres and has commissioned works by Paul Alan Levi, Morton Gould, Stephen Paulus, and Robert De Cormier. Since becoming NYChoral music director in 2012, David Hayes has introduced our singers — and audiences — to many less often performed symphonic choral masterworks and to exciting works by contemporary composers.
Organist JASON ROBERTS became St. Bartholomew’s Associate Director of Music, Organist and the Director of the Boy and Girl Choristers in May 2014. Previously Mr. Roberts was at St. James’s Church in West Hartford, CT, where he built one of the largest choral programs in the Hartford area, which included 35 children and more than 30 adults. He holds degrees from Rice University, Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Roberts is a sought-after recitalist in the U.S. and last summer was chosen to play at the Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Hartford, CT. An avid improviser, Mr. Roberts won first prize at the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2008 and was a finalist at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in 2011(Improvisation).
The Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ at St. Bartholomew’s Church is the largest in New York City and one of the great examples of the American Classic Organ. Over several decades the organ was enlarged through successive rebuilding to become an exceptional instrument for accompanying large choral works and the performance of a broad spectrum of organ literature. For more information about St. Bart’s organ please visit http://stbarts.org/music/pipe-organ/.