Elgar’s perennial puzzler and the Overture it momentarily plunders are entwined in an evening given ‘Mass’ appeal by James MacMillan’s new choral work.
Conductor Kirill Karabits
James MacMillan Little Mass
Mendelssohn Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Elgar Enigma Variations
Premiered on the cusp of the 20th century and dedicated “to my friends pictured within”, Elgar’s Enigma Variations was the making of him. And not just in Europe. Gustav Mahler introduced New Yorkers to its thumbnail sketches writ large and the riddle of its theme remains unsolved to this day. Kirill Karabits cunningly prefaces it with Mendelssohn’s seascape, which is subtly alluded to in Variation XIII’s tender yet troubled Romanza. And first up is something hot off the press: James MacMillan’s abridged Mass for children’s voices and orchestra, co-commissioned by the BSO and premiered in Liverpool in 2015.
For tonight’s performance of the Little Mass, the BSO assembles The MacMillan Choir – a specially formed choir of young people from Bristol, Bournemouth and Poole developed in partnership with Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus, Bristol Plays Music and Soundstorm Music Education Hubs. After conducting 2013’s uplifting Friday Afternoons Project for the Britten centenary, which featured nearly 2,000 Bristol schoolchildren, Kirill is a dab hand! James MacMillan’s Little Mass: commissioned by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for their 175th Anniversary and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
James MacMillan’s Little Mass was commissioned by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for their 175th Anniversary and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.