James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, commissioned by the Genesis Foundation, was awarded the Diapason d’Or for Musique Chorale (Choral Music) in Paris last night at a ceremony broadcast live on France Musique from the Maison de la Radio. The coveted prize was awarded to The Sixteen, Harry Christophers and Britten Sinfonia for their outstanding recording of James Macmillan’s work.
The Diapason d’Or for Choral Music is the latest in a series of accolades for this much-lauded work since it received its world premiere at London’s Barbican Centre in October 2018 and the release of the CORO recording in March 2017.
The Financial Times was one of the many broadsheets that awarded the album five stars and commented: “MacMillan…speaks of a ‘painful world of loss, violence, and spiritual desolation’, and those are the intense feelings packed into his score.”
In May 2017, Gramophone Magazine made the recording of the Stabat mater their Recording of the Month, and its editor Martin Cullingford wrote in his editorial: “The musical world is fortunate to have figures like John Studzinski.” He added: “Posterity might well judge this to be a 21st-century masterpiece; there is no question that this is a truly masterly recorded performance.”
The emotional directness of MacMillan and his belief that ‘beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith’ is profoundly present in his new setting of the Stabat mater, and make this an intensely personal work which encapsulates the dramatic power of the poem in a way no other composer has done to date.
James MacMillan’s composition was the culmination of three years of Genesis Foundation commissions and projects based on the Stabat mater, including premiere performances of Stabat maters from Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin. James MacMillan worked with Harry Christophers on mentoring the young composers commissioned by the Foundation ensuring a lasting legacy of new choral music.
For more information about the world premiere performance, click here.
To purchase a copy of James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, click here.