In Praise of Mary – Stanford’s Magnificat for double choir & other works

Friday, May 13, 2011
7:30 PM


Friday, May 13 at 7:30-9:30 PM

Tickets available at the door for cash or check made out to Saint Thomas Church.  Doors open at 6:45 pm

Prime $75 and Preferred $55 seats are assigned in the center section.  Standard $40 & $30 student/sernior tickets are open seating (first come first served) at the back.

Magnificat – Giles Swayne
Hymn to the Mother of God – John Tavener
Vox Patris caelestis – W. Mundy
Bogoroditsye Dyevo – S. Rachmaninoff
Ave Maria – F. Mendelssohn
Hymne à la Vierge – P. Villette
Totus tuus, Op. 60 – Henryk Górecki
Ave Maria – Virgo serena – J. Mouton
Litanies à la Vierge Noire – F. Poulenc
Magnificat for double choir, Op. 164 – C. V. Stanford
Ave Maria, R. Parsons
Organ solos

Devotion to Mary, Queen of Heaven, became woven into the rich tapestry of the Church’s liturgy from medieval times to today’s choral services here at Saint Thomas. The Magnificat, the Song of Mary, is sung at every Evensong, and Marian anthems can be heard on many occasions throughout the Church’s year. This program provides a sample of some of the riches of this tradition in honor of Mary, the Mother of God. It features the substantial Magnificat in B flat major for double choir, composed in 1918 by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in memory of his friend and fellow composer, Sir Hubert Parry. Considered a high point of British sacred choral music of the Romantic era, Stanford’s setting of the Virgin Mary’s prayer of praise after the Annunciation is notable for its quick alternation of moods. In contrast, Poulenc’s Litanies √† la Vierge Noire¬†is a setting of deeply personal and humble¬†adoration to the Virgin Mary. Poulenc composed the work within a week of his 1936 pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Rocamadour, which¬†led to a renewal of his religious faith following the death of his composer-friend, Pierre Octave Ferroud.

The concert begins with the¬†vibrant Magnificat by Giles Swayne followed by John Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God, William Mundy’s monumental Tudor-era Vox Patris caelestis,and Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Ave Maria in Slavonic) set as the sixth movement of his Vespers. The program also includes¬†contrasting settings of Ave Maria by three other composers: Mendelssohn, Mouton and Parsons in addition to two organ solos, as well as Villette’s Hymne √† la Vierge and Henryk G√≥recki’s tribute to the Virgin Mary (patron saint of his native Poland), Totus tuus, written in 1987 to celebrate a visit to Warsaw by the Polish Pope John Paul II.