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Mary's song of praise is the longest New Testament text attributed to a woman—but was, of course, written by a man incorporating tropes from earlier writers. The image of Mary has pervaded Christian culture and formed a guiding principle historically for female conduct within the Christian tradition.
The mythical Mary figure can be perceived in a range of ways—as a symbol of female strength and courage, a voice for the poor and oppressed, or, as suggested by Simone de Beauvoir in 1949, as a remnant of the ancient image of the Mother Goddess, now enchained and subordinated by Christianity as the 'Mother of God'.
Few texts have been set to music more often. The composer of this setting is both enthralled by the beauty of the words and troubled by their implications. The voice and violin engage in sung dialogue like a couple of birds held in their tonality by the marimba.
— from the liner notes of the album Voices of Women (Atoll Records)
Luke 1:46–55, Latin Vulgate version