James MacMillan: O Bone Jesu

McGregor, Richard (2007) James MacMillan: O Bone Jesu. Scottish Music Review, 2 (1).

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Abstract

O Bone Jesu is one of a large number of works, both instrumental and vocal, which James MacMillan has written to express aspects of his Catholic faith. It is an 8-part setting for mixed voices of a text originally used by the Renaissance Scottish composer Robert Carver. In MacMillan’s work, as in Carver’s, the word ‘Jesu’ (or similar) recurs 21 times and MacMillan has utilised this feature to help articulate a symbolic response to the words. Within a broad sonata-like structure the text provides MacMillan with opportunities for drawing out meaning through emphasis on key words which are treated in the typical melismatic style for which he is well known, and these are contextualised in a clearly pre-planned harmonic framework. This essay explores the ways in which MacMillan integrates the text setting into the formal structure, and explores some of the symbolic gestures that influence melodic and harmonic thinking in the work. The gestures which typify this setting are related to the broader context of his output as a whole and also to his understanding of his role as a composer with a faith which he feels it is important to express through composition.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Scottish Music Review
Publisher: Scottish Music Review
ISSN: 1755-4934
Related URL(s):
Departments: Pre June 2020 Academic Departments and Services > Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Performing Arts
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 May 2010 13:37
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2021 12:02
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/145

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