Duration: 28′

  • A setting of the Magnificat in six movements
  • Soprano solo, mezzo soprano solo, mixed chorus, orchestra [0.2/1.0.1 – – strings]
  • 1 Magnificat  |  2 Ecce enim  |  3 Quia fecit  |  4 Et misericordia  |  5 Fecit potentiam  |  6 Deposuit potentes
  • Oxford University Press
  • Commissioned by Finchley Choral Society
  • First performance 15 November, 2003  |  Rachel Nicholls (s), Ruth Peel (m-s), Finchley Choral Society, Orchestra Nova/George Vass  |  Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Central Square, London NW11
  • 1 Magnificat chorus
  • 2 Ecce enim ex hoc beatum soprano solo
  • 3 Quia fecit mihi magna chorus
  • 4 Et misericordia mezzo soprano solo
  • 5 Fecit potentiam soprano/mezzo duet
  • 6 Deposuit potentes chorus

The Magnificat was a centenary commission from Finchley Choral Society and was first performed by them, accompanied by Orchestra Nova, on 15 November 2003 at St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.

Scored for soprano and mezzo soprano soloists, mixed chorus and a chamber orchestra of oboe, cor anglais, bassoon and strings, the Magnificat is cast in six contrasting movements. The work opens with a slow orchestral introduction and leads to a faster-paced choral setting of the Magnificat. The central section of this movement, Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae, is poignant in character. The soprano solo, Ecce enim, with its filigree woodwind writing, brings a bright gracefulness to the next movement and is followed by a gently flowing, contemplative chorus, Quia fecit mihi magna, with sustained overlapping vocal and orchestral lines. Et misericordia, a solo for mezzo soprano, is also slow and reflective and has a prominent bassoon part using the highest register of the instrument, while the duet for soprano and mezzo soprano, Fecit potentiam, develops from a fanfare-like opening. The finale, Deposuit potentes, which follows on immediately, returns to the music of the opening chorus and, with an expansive coda, brings the work to a triumphant close.