Excitement at MacMillan musical premiere

A new work by the renowned Scottish composer, James MacMillan CBE, will be performed for the first time as part of the Ogilvie 400 celebrations in Glasgow.  The Ave Verum has been specially commissioned to mark the 400 years since St John Ogilvie SJ was martyred at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615. It will be included in Mass at St Aloysius Church on Sunday 8 March, at which 66 pupils from six Junior Schools will join together to sing the Mass setting dedicated to St Aloysius Gonzaga SJ.

“The Ave Verum is an example of what, in my opinion, James MacMillan does best, which is combining very complex harmony and rhythmic features with a beautiful and very singable melody,” says Paul Christie, St Aloysius College’s Director of Music, who will be conducting the six Junior School choirs for the occasion. “I'm very much looking forward to conducting the piece as I've always enjoyed James MacMillan's music. It's always exciting to have an involvement in a new work and it's particularly exciting for the pupils who have performed many of his pieces before.”

ChallengeJames MacMillan CBE

The first event of the weekend-long celebration will take place on Saturday 7 March, when 82 Senior students from five Jesuit Schools will come together in St Aloysius Church to perform Mozart’s Vespere Solennes di Domenica (K321). Accompanied by a professional orchestra, the senior pupils will be conducted by Keith Roberts, the Head of Choral Music at St Aloysius’ College, whilst Vespers will be celebrated by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and the Jesuit Provincial Fr Dermot Preston SJ.

According to Paul Christie, fans of James MacMillan will not be disappointed by his brand new composition which the young singers have been practicing in their respective schools.  “The choirs are thoroughly enjoying rehearsing it and are certainly rising to the challenge, he says. “Now I am really looking forward to visiting some of the other Jesuit schools in a couple of weeks to hear how they've been getting on!”

Main photo: The choirs perform in St Aloysius Church, Glasgow.  Right: James MacMillan CBE