This CD from BIS presents the first two parts of the orchestral trilogy that MacMillan calls "Triduum." The three parts together explore the actus tragicus of Eastertide and constitute a kind of Bachian "Passion" in purely instrumental terms. Part I of "Triduum" bears the title "The World's Ransoming" and consists of a concerto, in one twenty-minute movement, for cor anglais and orchestra. MacMillan, who is a professing Catholic of deep faith, speaks in a vocabulary which is distinctly modern (showing that he has learned lessons from Messiaen and Stravinsky) while being at the same time highly accessible and dramatic. Much of the thematic interest in "The World's Ransoming" stems from the composer's use of Gregorian chants associated with Easter (the "Pange Lingua" plays an important role). Many of the ecclesiastical motifs that appear in the cor anglais concerto reappear in Parts II and III of "Triduum," as do other motifs that come from MacMillan himself. Part II of the trilogy is a cello concerto. This time there are three distinct movements: "The Mockery," "The Reproaches," and "Dearest Wood and Dearest Iron," the last a reference to the Cross. The cello concerto requires twice the playing time of the cor anglais concerto, and lifts the drama (and the angst) to a higher level. MacMillan further develops the plainsong-motifs and brings in fresh material. The orchestra contributes its full potential and there is much "sonic spectacle" in both works. The "spectacle" is never gratuitous, however; it always contributes to the power of the scene. Both "The World's Ransoming" and the Cello Concerto are symphonic in their conception. We do not achieve catharsis in these two works: That comes only in the symphony, entitled "Vigil," that concludes the trilogy. (It comes on a second CD and must be purchased seperately.) Osmo Vanska, a Finnish conductor, is associated with brilliant modern scores like those of his countryman Kalevi Aho. He leads the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. BIS delivers its usual wall-shaking sound and immaculate acoistic clarity.