Angie Cheatham

March 10, 2011 (Wheaton, IL)—Crossway Publishers is pleased to announce the commissioning of the “Revelation Project,” created by the renowned Scottish composer James MacMillan. The work, composed by MacMillan, is a six-minute sacred choral setting of Revelation 21:1-6a. The premiere of the new choral piece is scheduled for performance at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (5850 S. Woodlawn, Chicago) on the campus of the University of Chicago, under the direction of James Kallembach. The performance will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., and will feature the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and the University of Chicago Motet Choir, with the composer in attendance.

The “Revelation Project” was commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria and sponsored by Crossway and the University of Chicago. The vision for the work originated with Dr. Lane Dennis, President and Publisher at Crossway, whose idea it was to partner with Soli Deo Gloria to commission a great contemporary musical work, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible publication in 2011.
Regarded by many as Scotland’s greatest living composer, James MacMillan’s work is performed around the world by such noted ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Through worldwide performances and an extensive discography, MacMillan’s music has achieved a broad following rare among modern composers. His percussion concerto, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, has received over 400 performances. James MacMillan is also a member of Soli Deo Gloria’s Advisory Board of Directors.

In the “Revelation Project,” MacMillan will use the Revelation text as it appears in the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, published by Crossway. Dr. Dennis notes a fitting connection between the historical grounding of the ESV Bible and the musical language of James MacMillan. “One reason that James MacMillan’s work is so powerful is due to his high respect for the historic stream of Christian (and non-Christian) music, which he integrates into his work to create a brilliant, completely original, new contemporary work,” writes Dr. Dennis. “The English Standard Version stands in the historic Christian stream of Bible translations going back to the King James Version (1611); and before the KJV, to the Bishops’ Bible (1568), the Great Bible (1539), and the Tyndale New Testament (1526). It is a tremendous thing to see this historic stream carried forward in this new work by James MacMillan, based on this ESV text” (as follows):

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” 

Revelation 21:1-6a
English Standard Version

Conductor James Kallembach, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Chicago, welcomes the opportunity to partner with MacMillan. Recalling his first hearing of MacMillan’s work in a composition seminar early in his career, Kallembach commented, “Upon hearing the Seven Last Words from the Cross, I then became acquainted with his Tenebrae Responsories and other choral works. There is both a brutal realness and tenderness which I think make MacMillan’s works so unique.”

In addition to the new work by James MacMillan, the June 4, 2011, program at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel will also feature Benjamin Britten’s Antiphon, as well as works for organ and carillon. For more information on the June 4 concert, contact Lorraine Brochu at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at 773-702-2100.“It will indeed be a great privilege for all who are able to attend,” Dr. Dennis noted, “to hear and participate in the premiere performance of this remarkable sacred choral work, by the renowned Scottish composer James MacMillan.”

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