Triumphant premiere for James MacMillan’s Fifth Symphony, Le grand Inconnu at Usher Hall, Edinburgh

22 August 2019

On the evening of Saturday 17th August a standing ovation and a host of five-star reviews greeted the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Fifth Symphony, Le grand Inconnu, at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

This large-scale choral symphony, commissioned by the Genesis Foundation, was performed by the work’s dedicatees Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, alongside members of Genesis Sixteen, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The Spectator described how “the whole symphony pulls quietly towards consonance and a vast, cumulative sense of affirmation”, while The Times commented that the work is “likely to join MacMillan epics…in gripping the ears, spearing the heart and moving the soul.” The symphony received five star reviews from Bachtrack and The Arts Desk, as well as sterling reviews from the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Herald.

The concert was recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and will be performed again in London on the 14th October at the Barbican. Book tickets here.

Photo credit: Adrian Myers

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