The Magnificat opens with carefully constructed note clusters in compound time which support and answer the treble voices. Repeated rhythmic figures develop in the organ accompaniment which in turn give way to further rhythmic interest. The opening mood returns in the ‘Gloria’ and the music comes to rest quietly but inevitably on a chord of C sharp major.
The vocal parts of the Nunc dimittis begin in a mood reminiscent of the final movement of Crucifixus pro nobis. As in the Magnificat, the opening mood of the Nunc dimittis is re-established in the ‘Gloria’. The dissonances in the final ‘Amen’ yield a chord of F major and the canticles end as gently as they began.
from notes by William McVicker © 1992