It’s about joy. With irrepressible joy. The first chapter of Luke’s Gospel tells us: in front of Elizabeth, Mary, pregnant, lets a long praise burst forth with laughter – Magnificat anima mea dominum, my soul exalts the Lord. In the mouth of the Virgin, the Magnificat sings of the happiness of the fulfilled promise, the fullness of being in the world, the absolute of boundless joy. Bach chose the key of D major, frank and sonorous, to give full resonance to this joyfulness – a key that also particularly suits the trumpets, the driving elements of a flamboyant orchestration. Everything in the writing seems to be at the service of what inhabits the text from beginning to end: light and jubilation; including, and above all, the choir, whose composition emphasizes the lightness and brilliance of the high registers.
This evidence of superior voices – at the origin of children’s voices – is found in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children, thus ensuring continuity between two works that are very different. Designed to be given outside the liturgical framework, Rutter’s Mass is combined with the usual Latin text of Thomas Ken and William Blake’s poems, leading to fervent prayer by children beyond any fixed dogma. The music thus begins with a festive evocation of the early morning and ends with a delicate vesper hymn. The church extends to the world, in a sense of universality dear to Rutter. Although stylistically very far from Bach, we find in the score the same desire for light, and the same jubilation, which the childish voices transmit with grace. Because it’s all about joy.
The same concert will take place on Saturday 17 August – 19:00 at the Kollegiumkirche in Brig.
Magnificat / J.-S. Bach
Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso, op. 28 / Camille Saint-Saëns
Mass of the Children / John Rutter
Cantate Domino / Giovanni Croce
A Poison Tree / Janet Wheeler
Charm / Kerry Andrew