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Hyperion Records

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Mystical Tree (1996) by Peter Davidson (d1999)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67787
Recording details: March 2009
Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Andrew Mellor
Release date: January 2010
Total duration: 17 minutes 36 seconds

'From the vibrancy of the very first track, the lively imagination of Rautavaara's writing for voices, the pungent palette of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, and the clarity and spacial excitement of this record, are immediately apparent' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The music may be as soft-centred as melting chocolate, but the performances have real fire and beauty' (The Irish Times)

Magnificat
composer
1979; dedicated to Astrid Riska and Jubilate
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

Gloria  [4'59] LatinEnglish

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Closely related to Canticum Mariae virginis and to the non-ecclesiastical Nirvana Dharma (1979), the Magnificat (1979) is a five-movement setting of the Canticle of the Virgin Mary in Latin. As in the other two pieces, the main compositional principle is symmetry. In the first movement, ‘Magnificat’, the altos and tenors sing pentatonic harmonies around which the sopranos and basses weave their melodies. The structure is twofold, the transition highlighted by a transformation of the harmonic material. ‘Quia respexit’ begins with a theme sung by soprano and alto soloists under which the women of the choir spin a diatonic field in parallel triads. The male voices sing a canon underneath this structure.

‘Fecit potentiam’ is a short, rhythmic piece based on a parallel minor triad motif with countersubjects. ‘Suscepit Israel’ opens with a speech choir out of which an E minor tonality emerges and concludes with a beautiful three-part canon in the women’s voices. The final ‘Gloria’ opens with a slow, part-aleatoric and almost chant-like structure. The music builds to a climax reminiscent of the bell music in Canticum Mariae virginis and then goes into an almost martial declamation of the text ‘Sicut erat in principio’, with open parallel fifths creating a severe and archaic feel as the work progresses to a dynamic conclusion.

from notes by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi © 2010

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