James MacMillan at your service

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ssgcgs
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James MacMillan at your service

Post by ssgcgs » Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:43 pm

Now look folks, we have the privilege of spending the day with James MacMillan in Leicester at a workshop being organised by the Leicester International Music Festival. the invitation to attend is primarily to SSG Composers' Group. The format is still slightly in the air, and CG members have been invited to bring their compositions along as usual. But I'm sure there will be far more to it than that. I'm sure observers with an interest in liturgical music would be welcome.

Fact is, the response from Composers' Group has been very poor so far. Please pm me if you are interested in this event. When details go up on the website I will make a direct link to them.
And, hey, if you don't know a lot about James MacMillan, listen to this "New Song" I stumbled across on Sunday morning by listening to the latest "Sunday Worship", tuning in at 36.5 minutes to get to the song, or the whole broadcast if you're interested in the service from Westminster Cathedral on the theme of the document "Gaudium et Spes".

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Do it live at a Composers' Group meeting!

percypig
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Post by percypig » Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:52 pm

I'm certainly intending to make the effort to get up to Leicester for my first CG meeting.

Thanks for the link to the broadcast of "A New Song". I enjoyed singing it in a concert recently but hadn't heard a recording. A magical piece by a fine composer. It's just got to the organ solo at the end and I've got shivers running down my spine...

Not only has James MacMillan written some of the most moving choral music of recent years that I know of (check out his Seven Last Words from the Cross), but he has also written some highly attractive and singable congregational Mass settings (e.g. the Galloway Mass and St Anne Mass, part of which is in Laudate). Well, I like them anyway.

percypig

PS Hello everyone. I've been watching this forum for months and have learnt a lot through your fascinating discussions, for which I thank you all. I might even start joining in!

ssgcgs
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Post by ssgcgs » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:49 pm

Details of this meeting are now available here

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ssgcgs
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Post by ssgcgs » Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:07 am

I would like to tell all the forum members of the wonderful meeting we had yesterday with James MacMillan. He was truly at our service, meeting us at our level and genuinely interested in our situations as musicians working in parishes. As an eminent composer in the midst of people with lesser musical credentials, he led us like a gentle shepherd and valued every single piece presented. This is just what Composers' Group has needed for some time, and is so far away from the horror stories I have heard from people like Merseysider that I just wanted to put the record straight.

It is also good to have someone who is aware of the tensions that music in liturgy creates but who does not take the "big stick" approach to liturgical correctness. James made clear his feelings that members of the Group were well aware of the need to provide music for the assembly and to fulfil the role of the schola.

If you were there yesterday, do add your two pennyworth. It was a rare treat, funded in this case by the Leicester International Music Festival at which James is Composer in Residence this year. Thanks to Helen Murphy for providing the contact which made this all possible.

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Do it live at a Composers' Group meeting!

excathedra
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Post by excathedra » Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:42 am

It sounds wonderful. I was truly sorry that a work-related rehearsal prevented me from attending. I have met JM on two previous occasions, and I can confirm what you say about him. It's an indication of the man's stature that he is able to put himself at the service of others like this.

Thanks to all who made this possible.

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mcb
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Post by mcb » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:42 pm

ssgcgs wrote:It was a rare treat


I definitely agree! I've enjoyed every meeting of the Composers' Group I've attended, but this was easily the best. James Macmillan surprised me by being so informed and sympathetic about the practical concerns of liturgical musicians. I was expecting knowledgeable musical commentary from a composer of international significance, and, I suppose, expecting the discussion to be more rarefied as a consequence. But much of the day's discussions had a very down to earth feel. It was clear that JM knew what we were there for, and he showed this especially in sensitive questioning of each composer, finding out their thinking behind each piece, the uses it might be put to, what it had been like to use it in liturgy, what it had been like teaching the piece to an assembly or a choir.

At JM's suggestion we attended, and sang at, a lunchtime Mass, and it was a rewarding addition to the normal pattern for a CG meeting.

A hard act to follow! It would be nice to think, even if we don't get another opportunity for a day with JM, that the spirit of sympathetic and prayerful reflection we caught on Saturday might be as strong in future meetings. Not that CG meetings usually lack these things; but this was a model of how our encounters should be.

Glad I went!
M.

percypig
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Post by percypig » Tue Jun 21, 2005 4:00 pm

I'd just like to say how much I enjoyed the meeting. It was my first, so I didn't really have a clue what to expect. I was impressed not only by James MacMillan's advice and encouragement but also by the supportive nature of the whole group. Thanks to everyone involved in organising it and all who were present.

Cheers,
percypig

organist
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James MacMillan

Post by organist » Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:02 am

I'm sorry to have missed - mind you I'm not a composer. I know the Panel of Monastic musicians enjoyed their day with JM. I'm interested to learn that part of the St Anne's Mass is in Laudate. Some of it is very singable but I have some reservations. Invite JM to a summer school?

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