James MacMillan's "Seven Last Words from the Cross" and "Stabat Mater": analysis and approach
Rohde, Joshua Wold
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation focuses on the analysis of James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993) and Stabat Mater (2016). Building on the technical analysis, issues of practical application for those who wish to rehearse and perform these works are discussed. Presentation of musical examples, a review of literature, and personal interviews were conducted with MacMillan in preparation of this document. The first chapters provide an introduction to MacMillan, biographical events surrounding the two works, and historical context of each genre. The third chapter then engages with the four main aspects that define MacMillan’s compositional style: the incorporation of Scottish folk music, influence of his Catholic faith, passion to engage with social issues, and balance between conservative and modernist techniques. These four aspects will be examined historically, how they relate to one another, and their role in MacMillan’s music. The fourth and fifth chapters deal with the direct analysis of the Seven Last Words from the Cross and the Stabat Mater. The chapters are structured in a fashion similar to how MacMillan composed both works—starting with the text, developing the structure, crafting important and symbolic musical gestures, and outlining additional compositional techniques. The sixth chapter takes on the analysis of the music and applies it to practical applications one should consider when rehearsing and performing these works. Finally, the conclusion discusses the social relevance of the music and places both compositions in a broader culturally context.