Patterico's Pontifications

12/23/2018

Sunday Music: Bach’s Magnificat, BWV 243

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am



It is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s Bach piece is a concert performance of one of Bach’s most popular choral works: his setting of the Latin “Magnificat.”

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-45, (46-55):

Mary Visits Elizabeth

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It is the Latin setting of Mary’s song quoted above: the “Magnificat.” It opens with the Latin sentence: “Magnificat anima mea Dominum.” This translates as the first sentence of Mary’s song: “My soul magnifies the Lord.” After the end of Mary’s song, Bach’s setting closes with these words:

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto,
sicut erat in principio
et nunc et in saecula saeculorum,
Amen.

Which translates as:

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and for ever and ever,
Amen.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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