Genesis Foundation commissions new Stabat Mater from James MacMillan
28 January 2016
The weekend of 15/16 October will see the Barbican Centre present a series of concerts and talks dedicated to James MacMillan. At the pinnacle of these celebrations will be the world premiere of his full-length Stabat Mater, commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen to be performed with the Britten Sinfonia.
James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater, at 60 minutes for choir and string orchestra, will undoubtedly be one of his most important works to date and reflects his personal response to what is unquestionably the most powerful poem of the liturgy. The thirteenth-century text – Stabat Mater Dolorosa (The grieving mother stood…) – is a meditation on the suffering of Mary as she stands at the foot of the Cross and therefore has a universal resonance that is as timely today as it has ever been.
This major commission from James MacMillan marks the culmination of the Genesis Foundation’s three-year series of commissions and workshops dedicated to the Stabat Mater. Stabat Mater: Spirit, Strength & Sorrow saw three leading young composers – Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin– write Stabat Maters under the mentorship of James MacMillan and Harry Christophers. Their three works were premiered at a free concert at LSO St Luke’s, London, in June 2014 and subsequently recorded by Christophers and The Sixteen for release on their Coro label.
The Genesis Foundation began 15 years ago with the commissioning of Roxanna Panufnik’s Westminster Mass and since then has continuously committed itself to ensuring that new pieces of sacred choral music get commissioned, performed and recorded. Other composers who have received Genesis Foundation commissions include Will Todd, Tarik O’Regan and Roderick Williams.