Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus – James MacMillan: St John Passion (2008) MCH SACD ISO + Hi-Res FLAC

Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus – James MacMillan: St John Passion (2008)
PS3 Rip | 2x SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 90:07 minutes | Scans included | 5,24 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,48 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo & 5.1 multichannel Surround sound

James MacMillan’s St. John Passion, completed and premiered in 2008, was commissioned by a consortium that included the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Radio Choir. Scored for large orchestra, chorus, chamber choir, and baritone, it’s one of MacMillan’s biggest works and the weight of its significance must have felt like a burden on the composer, a devout Roman Catholic, a constraint on the characteristic freedom of his imagination in the expectation of creating an appropriately magisterial work. The melodic contour of much of the choral writing, particularly for the small Narrator Chorus, is derived from plainchant and has the character of a meandering choral recitative. Jesus’ vocal lines are so floridly melismatic that they come across as precious and mannered rather than plainly communicative. The work has moments of effectiveness, though; by the end of the third movement, MacMillan generates real excitement in the choral writing, and the fourth movement ends in a stunning chorale. He’s at his strongest in the expansively lyrical and powerful final movement, which is for orchestra alone. Overall, though, the Passion falls short of conveying the depth and eloquence for which the composer was clearly aiming. It receives an intense and dedicated performance by the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, led with conviction by Colin Davis, to whom it is dedicated. Christopher Maltman has a secure and resonant baritone and makes the most of the thankless solo role. The SACD recording is taken from a live performance and is clean and well balanced, although stray vocal sounds, perhaps coming from Davis, are occasionally distracting.


01. St John Passion: Part I: i. The arrest of Jesus
02. St John Passion: Part I: ii. Jesus before Annas and Caiaphas. Peter disowns him
03. St John Passion: Part I: iii. Jesus before Pilate
04. St John Passion: Part I: iv. Jesus is condemned to death

01. St John Passion: Part II: v. The Crucifixion
02. St John Passion: Part II: vi. Christ’s garments divided
03. St John Passion: Part II: vii. Jesus and his Mother
04. St John Passion: Part II: viii. The Reproaches
05. St John Passion: Part II: ix. The death of Jesus
06. St John Passion: Part II: x. Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis

Christopher Maltman – baritone
Narrator Chorus
London Symphony Chrorus
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis – conductor

Produced by James Mallinson
Recorded live April 2008 at the Barbican, London



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