Hyperion Records

Magnificat
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The Magnificat, with its variety of textual moods, inspires a remarkable setting by Couperin which contains eleven contrasting sections in as many minutes. After the joyful triple-time opening a more supplicatory mood (complete with suspensions) is struck for ‘Quia respexit’ before the confidently rising phrases of ‘Quia fecit mihi magna’ herald the return of both voices. ‘Et misericordia’ is characterized by a more chromatic bass line and richer harmony, after which ‘Fecit potentiam’ contains melismas in both voice and accompaniment to pictorialize ‘dispersit superbos’. Remarkable too is the ground bass for ‘Suscepit Israel’ which modulates into a minor section at ‘recordatus misericordiae’. The continuo instruments first sound the running figure that characterizes the opening of the ‘Gloria’, and a continuously running bass line also colours the final joyful ‘Sicut erat in principio’.

from notes by Robert King © 1991

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