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author of text
Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55; Ave Maria: Antiphon for the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our culture tends to devalue teenage girls’ strength, character and intelligence (the phrase ‘like a teenage girl’, for example, is seldom used as a compliment). Similarly, portrayals of Mary in art and music often downplay her courage and determination and instead emphasize her more ‘feminine’ qualities. This Magnificat offers a different view of Mary, and of young women.

This setting pairs the text of the Magnificat (sung here by the Elm City Girls’ Choir, in the style of a Bulgarian women’s chorus) with that of the Ave Maria (sung by Yale Schola Cantorum). The music draws connections between the two: for example, after the girls sing ‘enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes’, the adult choir responds with ‘Benedicta tu in mulieribus’. As the girls sing ‘Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui’, the adults sing ‘ora pro nobis peccatoribus’.

To Western European and North American ears, the sounds of Bulgarian women’s choruses tend to suggest female strength and determination. For that reason, and because the composer finds this music beautiful and powerful, the girls who sing Mary’s words are instructed to sing in that style.

from notes by Tawnie Olson © 2019


New England Choirworks
Studio Master: CDA68314Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 1 on CDA68314 [8'31]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68314 track 1

Recording date
24 January 2018
Recording venue
St Thomas's Episcopal Church, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Recording producer
Andrew Walton
Recording engineer
Brian Losch
Hyperion usage
  1. New England Choirworks (CDA68314)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: December 2019
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