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This setting was written at the request of Robert Alburn, Director of Music at Christ's College, Canterbury. As with my 2002 setting of the same text, this setting was written to be paired with my earlier Nunc Dimittis (1984). In fact, this is my fourth setting of the Magnificat text (three in English and one in Latin)!
The music, being written for a school group, is relatively straightforward and the text follows the English version given in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I have attempted to make this setting similar in general style to the earlier Nunc Dimittis although the pieces have been written more than 20 years apart. It is hoped that they can be used as a logical pairing. The Nunc Dimittis was also written for a school group.
The work commissioned for liturgical use, which meant limited repetition of text, and a ease of understanding for the listener. However the work is also suitable for concert situations.
The music begins and ends firmly in E flat major and seldom strays far from that tonality. One feature of the work is the occasional use of free chanted music, against which a treble soloist sings a more lyrical line.
Commissioned by Robert Aburn and Christ's College, Canterbury
Text from The Book of Common Prayer