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MacMillan: Seven Last Words from the Cross

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 13 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music
  • ASIN: B000A17GMY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,239 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Father, Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do
2. Woman, Behold Thy Son!...Behold Thy Mother!
3. Verily, I Say Unto Thee, Today Thou Shalt Be With Me In Paradise
4. Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?
5. I Thirst
6. It Is Finished
7. Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit
8. On The Annunciation Of The Blessed Virgin - James Vivian
9. Te Deum - James Vivian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and beautiful Dec 17 2010
By Kate - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was first introduced to this piece as a music major in college. The experience of this powerful music has lingered with me since. MacMillan has mastered the art of juxtaposing the sublimely beautiful with the gritty and sometimes painful. What better setting than Christ upon the cross? It is difficult to pick my favorite of all the movements, however the 3rd movement "Verily I say unto thee" is spectacular in its setting. It begins with a tenor and bass duet that is impressive in difficulty and execution. The strings then come in with a soaring melody that truly speaks to the holy inspiration of the Christ on the cross. This pattern continues with a tenor duet alternating with strings and full chorus and an alto/soprano duet, until it comes to the ultimate finale with 2 sopranos singing in the extremes of the soprano tessitura. It is absolutely awe-inspiring. The first time I heard this, it brought tears to my eyes. My other favorite movement is the 7th movement. However, to just listen to the 7th movement without hearing the jarring and painful 6th movement is, for lack of a better word, sacriligious. The 6th movement "It is finished" is set as jarring and painful stabs of strings are momentarily interrupted with a sweet choral setting of text, "my eyes are blind with weeping." It is almost as if, the transcendence of Jesus' soul is interrupted by the demands and pain of the body and vice versus as He is able to remove Himself from the pain of his body to see beyond the moment into eternity. The movement ends with this painful pulsing that could be interpreted to be his beating heart in the final moments of life. The 7th movement begins with the exclaimation of "Father." It almost feels as if all mankind with one voice cries out in shame, fear, hope, love, and surrender to the Almighty. This piece is life changing. I highly recommend listening. However, it is best recieved with an open heart and mind. The text is set in both latin and english, so the listener might enjoy this while reading the text at each start of each movement. I hope that you will enjoy this as much as I.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music May 11 2008
By Aquinas - Published on
Format: Audio CD
MacMillan has a wonderful inner understanding of sacred music, informed (I assume) by his Catholic faith. The Seven Last Words from the Cross are stunning, a brilliant admixture of old and new.

Track 3 (Verily, I say unto thee, thous shall be with me in Paradise) derserves a particular mention. The "ecce lignum crucis" (proclaiming darkness) is stunningly interwoven with the thrice proclaimed acclamation of "venite adoremus". Its the "venite adoremus" with its wafting neo-romantic violin solo and Brittenesque strings (reminding me very much of the famous quartet in Peter Grimes: "do we cry or do we weep" and perhaps of Brahms)that grabs you: how can this be so, how can we have crucified the "Son of Man" - the shock of it all is ironically captured more decisively through the most delicate and gentle of music although the horror is also captured in other movements through the strings (echoing Bartok).Be warned: this is a real tear jerker!

The last movement captures the death of Christ beautifully with the life draining slowly from his body, depicted through intermittent glistening of strings.

The Te Deum (last track) strongly recalls Britten.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gorgeous and Traumatic Experience March 6 2012
By Vincent Uher - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Experiencing this work is to experience vividly the trauma of the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Because Macmillan writes as both a man of profound faith and great musicianship, the work is likewise painfully gorgeous and performed elegantly and brilliantly on this recording. I believe the work is so successful because it is True to both the narrative of events and the sacred tradition that has preserved the memory of them. Compositional flourish or excess is not to be found in MacMillan's composition. Rather it is a score proclaiming the events and the last words of the Lord Jesus more powerfully, sparingly and compellingly than any sermon or any other musical setting. Stephen Layton and forces are perfection in the execution of this tragic work, and after hearing this performance I have a hard time imagining that any other could be better.MacMillan: Seven Last Words from the Cross
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording! Jan. 17 2008
By A. McKee - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a beautiful recording of a rarely-heard work. Macmillan's work is equal parts beautiful and terrifying, and the performance is remarkable.