Find out more about the most recent commission, Stabat Mater, which was premiered on Saturday 15 October 2016 at the Barbican, performed by the Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia.
The Genesis Foundation commissioned James MacMillan to compose a new Stabat Mater, which received its world premiere by Harry Christophers, The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican Centre, London on 15 October 2016. Surrounding the premiere of the piece was a series of concerts and talks dedicated to James MacMillan. At 60 minutes in length and for choir and string orchestra, Stabat Mater is undoubtedly one of MacMillan’s most important works to date; it reflects his personal response to what is unquestionably the most powerful poem of the liturgy.
This major commission marks the culmination of the Genesis Foundation’s three-year series dedicated to the Stabat Mater. Stabat Mater: Spirit, Strength & Sorrow saw three leading young composers – Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin – write Stabat Maters under the mentorship of James MacMillan and Harry Christophers. Speaking about the project, James MacMillan said:
“It has been a great honour to work on this commission for The Sixteen, after many years working closely with them and Harry Christophers on other, smaller pieces. The whole project supported by the Genesis Foundation has been a delight, and I have been able to work with other, younger composers on their own work, incorporating the activities of Genesis Sixteen too. It has, for a while, been my ambition to set this text and to compose a substantial work for Harry and his exceptional choristers.”
The Genesis Foundation’s association with MacMillan dates back to 2008 when he was commissioned by the Foundation, along with Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd, to compose musical settings for Padre Pio’s Stay with Me Lord. All three works were given world premieres at Westminster Cathedral in London on 3 June 2008 in performances by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers. Around 1,200 people attended the sold-out concert.
The Genesis Foundation then commissioned a recording of the works with The Sixteen and Christophers that was released on their Coro label.
Harry Christophers wrote in the CD booklet:
“We are so fortunate to have in John Studzinski, the architect of the whole “Padre Pio” project, through his inspired Genesis Foundation, someone who believes not only in creating spiritual experiences but also ensuring that music in the Catholic Church is upheld and, above all, injected with life.”
“It was quite fascinating for me to see the way this beautiful prayer affected James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd. All are inspired but in different ways; James by the soul’s lonely anguish at impending death, Roxanna by the introvert, ardent and passionate text and Will by the fervent, beseeching intensity of the prayer.”
“I sincerely hope that with this recording we can live up to John Studzinski’s passion for new music and bring this heartfelt and quite beautiful sacred music to a much wider audience.”
To learn more about this project, please visit The Sixteen’s partner page.
To listen to an excerpt from Padre Pio – Stay with me Lord, please visit the Audio page.