MacMillan and Handel

*Rescheduled* Sunday 30 September 2018 at 7.30pm

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With the Exultate Chamber Orchestra
Conducted by David Ogden

James MacMillan Seven Last Words From The Cross
G.F. Handel Dixit Dominus

Exultate Singers is joined by the Exultate Chamber Orchestra to perform two powerful and virtuosic works for choir and string orchestra.

Widely admired as a masterpiece, James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross follows Christ’s final utterances at the crucifixion, meditating on each to form a dramatic and emotional sequence. The vocal writing is at times dramatic and intense, at others plaintive and tender. MacMillan’s music is always mesmerizing and deeply moving, contrasting moments of stark simplicity with complex, multi-layered passages emphasising the depth of meaning of the words.

One of the most exhilarating of all his choral works, Handel’s Dixit Dominus was written when the composer was just 22 years old. The piece displays youthful vitality and energy throughout with strong Italian influences. Bright and lively choruses lead into beautiful solo arias. One of the highlights is the duet for two solo sopranos De torrente in via bibet, whose lines weave in and out of each other in exquisite, heartrending counterpoint. The work closes with a Gloria overflowing with exuberance and joyfulness.

Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.

He first attracted attention with the acclaimed BBC Proms premiere of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (1990). His percussion concerto Veni, Veni Emmanuel (1992) has received close to 500 performances worldwide by orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics and Cleveland Orchestra. Other major works include the cantata Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993), Quickening (1998) for soloists, children's choir, mixed choir and orchestra, the operas Inès de Castro (2001) and The Sacrifice (2005-06), and St John Passion (2007). Recent highlights include premieres of his St Luke Passion, A European Requiem, Stabat Mater for The Sixteen and a Trombone Concerto for Jörgen van Rijen with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.


St George's, Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RR


£24, £20, £15. Half price tickets for students in full time education and under 18s (limited availability)

How to book

Telephone 0845 40 24 001

Or purchase from St George's box office in person. The box office is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, and at weekends from an hour before an evening concert.

Or buy online from the St George's box office

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Handel and MacMillan poster

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St George's, Bristol