Magnificat (SATB / SATB a cappella)

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$25.00 Package of 10 choral scores
SATB/SATB Double Choir a cappella

The Magnificat is a song sung by Mary, the mother of Christ, in the well-known nativity story told in the Gospel of Luke.  In this story we hear of the Angel Gabriel descending from Heaven to announce to Mary, still a virgin by Luke’s account, that she will bear the Son of God.  This scene is at once both magical and terrifying for it captures at once the humility, terror and unwavering faith of the Madonna character.  This story concludes with Mary singing the Magnificat, a rousing hymn of praise and a provocative political prophesy about the upsetting of existing power structures.
In 2007, I wrote a setting of the annunciation text (Ave Maria) spoken by the Angel that aims to capture the terror, fragility and isolation of Mary against the awesome spectacle of the heavenly being.  The voice of the angel is represented by the polyphonic choral sound while Mary is represented by a wordless soloist.
The present Magnificat is a companion work that continues the narrative.  This setting aims to evoke the madness of a Mary beset by the provocative appearance of the angel.  Represented now by a double choir (her doubt and faith in dialogue?), Mary stammers and stutters; she mutters bewildering prophesies about the new age to come; she extols the Lord with exuberance and reverence; she searches deep within and struggles to comprehend the good news.  She is a human figure overcome by staggering doubt and enormous burden.
The Magnificat, when sung in the traditional manner as a canticle of the Divine Office, concludes with a liturgical addition, the Gloria Patri.  This text is used in the present setting to symbolize Mary’s acceptance and reaffirmed faith: both choirs join together with the same material, symbolizing the union of faith and doubt, and the tonal vocabulary of the work changes.  Still, the lingering doubt and madness remain under the surface; the choirs drift apart and the material hints at harmonic ideas used earlier in the work.

Shipping: $2.00 per package of 10.

Listen to a live performance of Magnificat on our SoundCloud.



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