Carl Nielsen, MACMILLAN: Triduum, Part III: Symphony Vigil

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A work that weaves together powerful religious conviction and the turbulent, disorientating moments before arriving at spiritual and emotional poise.

Scottish composer James MacMillan has achieved that rare thing: popularity with both the public and the critical fraternity. His "Vigil" Symphony forms the third part of his Easter triptych Triduum (along with "The World's Ransoming" and the Cello Concerto). This work engages vividly with the task of moving from images of suffering and death to those of rebirth and transcendent affirmation. It is a remarkably rich and intense experience, weaving together the solemnity of the composer's powerful religious conviction and turbulent, disorientating moments of crisis before arriving at spiritual and emotional poise. The last movement sustains an almost Mahlerian intensity; you genuinely feel as if you have undertaken a major spiritual journey in the company of this important compositional voice. Osmo Vänskä proves a superb interpreter, drawing a performance of tremendous confidence from his Scottish orchestra.