This December, audiences in Sydney’s north will have the chance to hear two very different settings of the Magnificat. On December 2nd and 3rd, Manly Warringah Choir will perform J.S. Bach’s version and the following week, Mosman Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform the setting written by Durante, but more often attributed to Pergolesi.
Our musical director, Andrew Del Riccio will be involved in both performances, playing trumpet at the Manly concert, and conducting the concert at Mosman.
The Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, is particularly appropriate for the Advent season. The text comes from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary when she visits her cousin Elizabeth. The virgin Mary has been told by the angel Gabriel that she is going to have a child who will be the Son of God. When she asks how this could happen, the angel tells her she will be visited by the Holy Spirit so that the child’s conception will be divine. The angel gives proof that nothing is impossible by telling her that her cousin Elizabeth, who is old and past child bearing age is also pregnant. So according Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, and when Mary greets her, Elizabeth feels the baby (who is to become John the Baptists) move. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my saviour
For he has looked on the humility of his handmaiden
And behold, from henceforth all generations will call me blessed
For he who is mighty has magnified me and holy is his name
And his mercy is on those that fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown the strength in his arm
He has scattered the proud in the arrogance of their hearts
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly
The hungry he has filled with good things and the rich sent away empty.
As he promised our fathers, Abraham and his descendants forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and always will be, forever and ever. Amen.
And for any Latin scholars out there:
Magnificat anima mea dominum
Et exultavit spiritus meus in deo salutari meo
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est, et sanctum nomen eius
Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum
Fecit potentiam brachio suo
Dispersit superbos mente cordis sui
Deposuit potentes de sede,et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum recordatus misericordiae suae
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros Abraham et semeni eius in saecula
Gloria patri, et filio, et spiritui sancto sicut erat in principio,
Et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen