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Magnificat and Nunc dimittis

author of text
Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55; Nunc dimittis: Luke 2: 29-32

It was a Precentor friend of mine who suggested the idea of interpolating the Ave Maria (the 'Hail Mary'—mostly used during a Catholic Mass) with the Magnificat (a fundamental part of Anglican Evensong), which has created this Ecumenical work! The Ave Maria/Hail Mary, those words of the Archangel Gabriel telling Mary that she was carrying God’s son, must have been utmost in her mind in the subsequent Magnificat, in which she relates her feelings on that awesome news, to her cousin Elisabeth. Piecing the two texts together, they have very close associations—it seemed a very natural thing to do. This work was a joint commission between St Mark’s Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia USA, and the Exultate Singers who are performing it on this disc.

Simeon’s speech on the fulfilment of prophecy at the Messiah’s/Jesus’s arrival starts more reflectively, again with a little Latin—this time just the first line of the Nunc dimittis. The music gradually builds up momentum until it echoes the more wild and theatrical Magnificat, ending with the same last celebratory lines.

from notes by Roxanna Panufnik © 2019


Panufnik (R): Love abide & other choral works
SIGCD564Download only


Canticle 1: Magnificat  My soul doth magnify the Lord
Track 4 on SIGCD564 [5'52] Download only
Canticle 2: Nunc dimittis  Nunc dimittis servum tuum
Track 5 on SIGCD564 [3'04] Download only

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