Many, in the mostly syllabic settings of the

Many, especially me, have never heard of James MacMillan until now. James MacMillan was born at Kilminning, a council area in Scotland called North Ayrshire in 1959,  but lived in the East Ayrshire, a town of Cumnock until 1977, with a population of 13,000. MacMillan studied composition and music at the University of Edinburgh, alongside Rita McAllister. He then earned a PhD degree at Durham University, alongside John Casken, an english composer born in Yorkshire, England. Then from 1986 to 1988 he was a lecturer in music at the Victoria University of Manchester, in England. After his studies, MacMillan returned to Scotland, composing prolifically, and becoming Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, often working on education projects. I think it is clear to say that composing is his life. Over his years of composing, he had over 200 works. Today, he still composes at 59 years old.  The first song that I will be writing about is called Missa Brevis. Missa Brevis is Latin for “mass”. I chose this song because I am very fond of the way to goes along throughout the song.I chose to write about this piece first because I truly believe that this one reflects the James MacMillan personitionality.  The concise approach is found in the mostly syllabic settings of the 16th century and in the custom of “telescoping” (or simultaneous singing by different voices) in 18th-century masses. After the period when all church music was performed a cappella, a short execution time usually also implied modest forces for performance, that is: apart from Masses in the “Brevis et Solemnis” genre.  The composer, James MacMillan wrote the song Missa Brevis, and  further successes have included his second opera The Sacrifice, commissioned by Welsh National Opera, Autumn 2007, which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, and the St John Passion jointly commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Colin Davis at its world premiere in April 2008.  Missa Brevis is a capella writing for S.A.T.B choirs, and is known for singing in choirs with a lot of people, so the voices “mix”.  This song does not have any main instruments, but can be accompanied by piano.  I believe that this song shows just how young he was when he started the music.  Missa Brevis was written by James MacMillan at the age of just seventeen but was realized thirteen years later it was composed.  Overall Missa Brevis was a song I really enjoyed to learn more about and listen too. Overall this song was very melancholy, but at the same type was fast instead of the normal really slow type of sad songs. MacMillan music always has the ability to bring more to the table for all of his listeners. Especially this song.  MacMillan wrote over 200 compositions of work. To put all that hard work should definitely have the chance to pay off for him. And I don’t think it really did because most people don’t really know him. The second song I will be talking about is called “A Child’s Prayer”. I chose this one because the way it was performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was amazing, and that is basically all I am writing it for.  This song makes me feel alive inside, and ready to conquer all things that come my way. When you hear this song it sounds slow but brings its way, like a storm. It almost reminds me of the quote, “Fate whispers to the warrior… “You cannot withstand the storm”.. And the warrior whispers back, “I am the storm”. It probably reminds of that quote, because it was written for a girl that was slaughtered.  This song can be written for almost all voices.  This song is literally written for all voices in the choir. A Child’s Prayer is a for a cappella S.A.T.B. choir with two treble/soprano soloists. In my opinion, I think the song sounds better with soloists, but there doesn’t have to be soloists.  A Children’s Prayer was written in 1996 when James MacMillan was 37 years old. It was first sung in  Westminster Abbey, London Choir of Westminster Abbey Martin Neary. With regard to ensemble skills it’s worth noting that this piece contains little in the way of pulse. While this can create a calming meditative ambience in which listeners can reside, it demands heightened concentration from the players unless, as I suspect was the case here, they simply feel the piece in the same way.  In my opinion, this struck me as poetic in a memento to a murder. The last piece is called The Lamb has come for us from the House of David. This song is about the uprises of life. This song was first performed by the Schola Sancti Alberti directed by the composer at St. Peter’s, Edinburgh on 9 June 1979. The composer, James MacMillan continues to show that he truly cares about what his writing about through the pieces of his work.  This song is designed for the S.A.T.B choir and accompanied by the organ. This song was first written in 1979 in the month of February and performed only five months later after it was created.  James MacMillan music was all about his spiritual and political views. This song especially proves his roman faith believe. Through the three songs, I have research, you can tell he put a lot of work into each of his songs.  Overall the song The Lamb has come for us from the House of David shows that James MacMillan was popular a certain time because this song was already performed just 5 months after he wrote it. In the end,  James MacMillan musics, was always consistent to who he was, and still is. I believe that I learned a lot more about this composer than I did when I started.  There was a lot of differences between the music, because all of James MacMillan music was different. Over his 200 pieces of work, I think I liked A Child’s Prayer because the sound of the music was the best. Even though I still like other music, I believe that this paper opened my eyes a little bit more to other areas of music.     


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