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Westminster Service : Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis

by Brett McKern (2007)

Cathedral Singers sing Evensong.


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The Cathedral Singers sing Evensong.

Library shelf no. CD 2785 [Not for loan]

Westminster Service


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Westminster Service : Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis / music by Brett M McKern.

Library shelf no. 782.5525/MCK 16 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

This setting of the evening canticles (BCP text) was written for an Evensong at Westminster Abbey, with the acoustics and organ of the Abbey in mind.It could be performed in a smaller building with a smaller organ, but to have a solo reed stop is advisable. The organ registration, while seemingly precise, gives hints as to the style or mood of the various sections which may need to be adjusted.

The Magnificat includes a busy toccata-like organ part and a long introduction.The setting is for double choir positioned on either side of the chancel in a cathedral, Decani and Cantoris.In many places there is an alternatum between the two choirs.The tuba stop of the organ features but there are lyric moments for the clarinet stop, and for the soprano voices in particular.The Nunc Dimittis has a plaintive, lilting and sometimes staggering motive in the organ which could be said to represent the steps and jagged movements of the dying old man Simeon, who says these words in the Gospel.There is an 8-part quasi-fugal beginning of the Gloria that uses the same tune as the Magnificat opening and Gloria.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Double choir (SATBSATB), organ

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Large and difficult organ part

Commission note: Commissioned by The Cathedral Singers for their UK tour, July-August 2008

First performance: by The Cathedral Singers, Andrej Kouznetsov — 29 Jun 08. St James', King Street, Sydney


Performances of this work

1 Aug 08: Norwich Cathedral, England. Featuring The Cathedral Singers, David Dunnett.

20 Jul 08: Westminster Abbey, London. Featuring The Cathedral Singers.

6 Jul 08: Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney. Featuring The Cathedral Singers, Andrej Kouznetsov.

29 Jun 08: St James', King Street, Sydney. Featuring The Cathedral Singers, Andrej Kouznetsov.

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