For the first time in over a decade, Scotland’s foremost composer James MacMillan takes to the podium in his native country for a public concert. This concert, to be recorded for of BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now, features two World Premieres from opposite ends of MacMillan’s career: his latest work The Keening and his early Symphonic Study, written as a graduation piece.
There’s also the Scottish Premiere of A Deep but Dazzling Darkness, a stunningly dramatic reflection on the ability of music to bring comfort, and in this performance a tremendous showcase for the skills of BBC SSO leader Laura Samuel. For Sonny, a gentle elegy in memory of a young child, is premiered in a new arrangement, and Exsultet, his 1998 fanfare for brass quintet (in the revised version for symphonic brass), conjures up a typically MacMillan-like journey from darkness into light.
This will be the BBC SSO’s first major musical event of 2014, and a fascinating overview of a life in music, conducted by the composer himself.