March 14, 2010 – 4:18 am

The sound of distant drums and a rumour of war.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Holland 2010 [no label, 1CD]

Peter Dijkstra conductor with Nederlands Kamerkoor and Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Live at Dr. Anton Philipszaal, The Hague, The Netherlands, January 30, 2010. 192 kbps webcast in stereo.

Two notable pieces of music for contemplation and meditation for the period of Lent had an airing in January under the baton of conductor and choral master Peter Dijkstra.

The first is a contemporary composition by Scottish James MacMillan commissioned in 2004 by the BBC for Holy Week. It is a modern reading of the seven “phrases” uttered by Jesus at his crucifixion. According to the Bible, at the cross Jesus asked for forgiveness of his enemies, shared the vision of paradise in the afterlife, became agitated (”My God, why have you forsaken me?”) and then accepted his fate [”It is finished”].

MacMillan uses a mixed choir and a string section to deliver this powerful message. Generally, his Seven Last Words From The Cross is welcomed as a powerful composition for the Lent period offering a contemporary sound, almost middle-eastern, but steep in classical tradition. His use of silence has also been received favorably. Don’t adjust your volume when it gets too quiet. It is as the composer intended. “Gradually the music dies away almost into nothingness,” reports John Quinn, “We hear fragments, wisps of music, punctuated by silences that become ever more pregnant with meaning.”

The other piece featured is Gabriel Fauré’s popular Requiem, used on many film soundtracks including The Thin Red Line. Written between 1887 and 1890, this is another choral-orchestra piece sometimes used during Catholic Mass for the deceased. But far from being desolate and sad, it can be read as uplifting. Said Fauré, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.”

The pairing of both works is darkness next to light, the yin and yang of life. That may well be what the young Dutch conductor Peter Dijkstra had in mind. That there can be multiple interpretations.

We owe our thanks to Neetelbaers who recorded the webcast and shared it at the dime site.
- Professor Red

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Part 1
James MacMillan (1959) - Seven Last Words From The Cross (1993)

Track 01. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they doing (5:08) (7.4MB)
Track 02. Woman, Behold They son!? Behold, Thy Mother! (5:44) (8.3MB)
Track 03. Verily, I say unto, today thou shalt be with me in Paradise (8:46) (12.6MB)
Track 04. Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? (7:01) (10.1MB)
Track 05. I thirst (5:46) (8.3MB)
Track 06. It is finished (6:42) (9.7MB)
Track 07. Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit (7:00) (10.1MB)

Part 2
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) - Requiem Op.48 (1887)

Track 08. I. Introit & Kyrie (6:06) (8.8MB)
Track 09. II. Offertory (7:34) (10.9MB)
Track 10. III. Sanctus (3:22) (4.9MB)
Track 11. IV. Pie Jesu (3:19) (4.8MB)
Track 12. V. Agnus Dei (5:31) (8.0MB)
Track 13. VI. Libera me (4:35) (6.6MB)
Track 14. VII. In Paradisum (3:16) (4.7MB)

TT: 79:55m

The live recording of James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross performed in 2004 live at St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden and released on Hyperion. Click on the link to order the album.


  2. Thanks a Lot for this stunning Music. Especially the second part is Great. Big Deal for this one. In this Case Proud to be Dutch.

    Thanks again.

    By Janneman on Mar 14, 2010

  3. this is such a beautiful piece - and the acoustics are magnificent
    just checking - in the first few tracks i get some crackles and pops when the choir lets loose - are they in the original?

    By g on Mar 21, 2010

  4. Just in time for lenten season. I should check this one.

    By Gianni on Mar 31, 2010

  5. very very cool!!! Such amazing music.

    By Paul on Dec 12, 2013

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