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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Covington

Magnificat Quarti Toni

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

This blog is sponsored by Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble (Oakland, CA)

Dedicated to promoting music for women's voices.

In this season of social distancing, I'm offering a series of virtual micro-concerts for anyone to enjoy. On the first Wednesday of every month, I’ll post one fine performance of notable choral music for women’s voices. The selections and performing groups will be varied and eclectic. Most will be in the 3-5 minute range. Each post will include an audio recording, brief notes, text & translation and, when practical, a PDF copy of the score in case you want to follow along.

About the Music

Many renaissance motes have been transposed and transcribed from their original voicing to accommodate treble voices. This little gem is special partly because it was composed in its original form for treble voices. It is a setting of just a few verses of the Magnificat, the most famous of biblical canticles. It is but one section of a much larger work which is contained in a large collection of several Magnificat settings by Palestrina. These ere all published in 3 books. The edition that the choir is singing from in this recording is based on an edition published by Breitkopf & Hartel in 1875.

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Magnificat Quarti Toni a 4 Final
Download PDF • 57KB

About the Composer

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 1594) lived and composed toward the end of the renaissance period and was a master of the polyphonic style that characterized that musical era. His music displays beauty, elegance and fluency unrivaled by other composers of that style with the possible exception of Victoria. Palestrina had a long-lasting influence on the development of church and secular music in Europe, especially on the development of counterpoint, and his work is considered the culmination of Renaissance polyphony.

About this Performance

Performed by Voci Women’s Vocal Ensemble (Oakland, CA) Mitchell Covington Artistic Director. This performance was recorded live at St. Joseph Basilica, Alameda, CA in Dec. 2017.

The Text

The Magnificat is a canticle, a lyrical passage from the Bible. The text of this canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.[2] In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. When the baby moves within Elizabeth's womb, Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith (using words partially reflected in the Hail Mary), and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.

The Magnificat is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and the most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. the Magnificat is also sung during worship services, especially in Advent.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum;

Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo, Salutari meo.

My soul magnifies the Lord.

And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

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Mitchell Covington is an award-winning composer and conductor who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent adjudicator for choir competitions and festivals and has led choir tours and festivals throughout Europe. Mr. Covington has several choral compositions in print with major U.S publishers and his music has been performed by choirs throughout the U.S and Europe. Mr. Covington is the Founding Artistic Director of Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble.

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