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As of 17 March 2020, following government advice relating to the developing COVID-19 situation, Scottish Ensemble and Dunedin Consort have taken the decision to cancel this performance. This decision stems from the advice restricting all non-essential social contact and travel, which would affect both musicians and audiences. Please see below for further information on refunds.

Like many arts organisations, we face extraordinary unknowns when dealing with this ever-changing situation. We would be extremely grateful to any audience member who feels able to transform their ticket purchase into a donation to one or both of our organisations. This will allow us to continue to offset the financial impact of our inevitable loss in box office income — which both Dunedin Consort and Scottish Ensemble rely on as part of our financial planning. In particular, we wish to continue supporting our valued and exceptional freelance musicians and to mitigate the financial effects upon them, at a time when the effect of multiple cancellations could have a dramatic impact on their livelihoods.

We also wish to thank all our audiences, partners and funders for their understanding, and look forward to sharing more music with you as soon as we can.

The Queen's Hall will automatically process a full refund for this concert. Please be patient as the box office has to work through a very high volume of refunds due to the current situation. 

If you wish to offer a donation as outlined above either now or once you have received your refund, please click here for information on how to donate to Scottish Ensemble, and here for information on how to donate to Dunedin Consort.

Carlo Gesualdo: O crux benedicta
Erkki-Sven Tüür: L’ombra della croce
James MacMillan: Seven Last Words From The Cross

James MacMillan’s setting of the dying words of Jesus Christ is astonishing. Through moments of aching intensity, heart-rending beauty and raw, keening desolation, we are guided through an experience that somehow manages to feel both intensely personal, and magnificently universal. Vivid and alive with the composer’s distinctive style, strings combine with voices to create a truly chilling, brutal, beautiful, transcendent piece of music that boldly reaches out to its listener, whatever their beliefs.

Commissioned in 1994 by the BBC, Scottish Ensemble gave the premiere performance of the work on live television across the seven consecutive nights of Easter Week. More than two decades later, in its 50th anniversary year, SE will revisit the piece in collaboration with another leading Scottish group, Dunedin Consort.

The engrossing intensity and sheer emotional weight of MacMillan’s landmark work is one of its most precious qualities; across 45 minutes, the listener is offered not so much a depiction of a religious scene, but the sense of a transformative experience that lingers long after the final note sounds. To capture and honour its power, this hour-long concert centres around this singular work, offering it the space it requires and deserves.

About the Scottish Ensemble

Scottish Ensemble (SE) is Scotland’s pioneering string orchestra; a collective of outstanding musicians, championing music for strings across Scotland, the UK and the world. Celebrating 50 years, across its 2019/20 Anniversary Season SE presents thought-provoking programmes and events that cross genres, styles, musical periods and art forms to shed new light on classical music - and the many ways it can be shared.

About Dunedin Consort

Dunedin Consort is one of the world’s leading Baroque ensembles, recognised for its vivid and insightful performances and recordings which aim to make early music relevant to the present day. Under the direction of John Butt, the ensemble has won two coveted Gramophone Awards – for the 2007 recording of Handel’s Messiah and the 2014 recording of Mozart’s Requiem.

Seven Last Words is supported by Resonate, a PRS Foundation initiative in partnership with Association of British Orchestras, BBC Radio 3 and Boltini Trust.


Seven Last Words (cancelled)