Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis : for SSA choir
by Keren Terpstra (2002)
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis: for Floreat was commissioned by Floreat, a group of six women based at St Peter's Eastern Hill, Melbourne. Written in February, it was premiered at the Melbourne Art Gallery in May 2002 as part of a series of afternoon performances. Although the commission originally was for a concert work, this setting is very adaptable to liturgical use, and has been performed as part of the liturgy at Evensong in several places to great effect. Evensong is the Anglican evening office from the Book of Common Prayer 1662; this work is a setting of the two canticles most commonly used at that service.
The music of this work features a variety of interplay between parts, from the antiphonal pitting of one voice against the other two, to imitative polyphony, and limpid homophony. It is primarily modal, although pitch centers in the work do switch; it is the first of a series of experiments with the principle of "intersection of modes", whereby, for example as in this work, the Plagal mode on E will be combined with a Dorian mode on E, together pointing in several other modal directions.
The use of only three vocal parts, together with sparse imitation lend the work as a whole an austerity characteristic of late Medieval music. This is summarized particularly in the open 5th/octave chord which concludes the Gloria Patri.
Instrumentation: SSA choir.
Duration: 6 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Floreat.
First performance: by Floreat — 19 May 02. Melbourne Art Gallery
- In the form/style of: Spiritual and Sacred Music
Performances of this work
19 May 02: Melbourne Art Gallery. Featuring Floreat.
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