The world premiere of a new setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis composed by Andrew Ford will be presented at Choral Evensong on Sunday 3 July, 6pm, at Christ Church, North Adelaide. The choir will be led by guest conductor Georgia Simmons, with Andrew Georg at the organ.
This new composition has been co-commissioned by St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane; St David’s Cathedral, Hobart; Arts Foundation of St George’s Cathedral, Perth; Christ Church North Adelaide; Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney; and Trinity College, Melbourne.
Andrew Ford OAM is a composer, writer and broadcaster who has won awards in each of those capacities, including the Paul Lowin Prize for his song cycle Learning to Howl, a Green Room Award for his opera Rembrandt’s Wife and the Albert H Maggs Prize for his large ensemble piece, Rauha.
He has been composer-in-residence for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. In 2014 he was Poynter Fellow and visiting composer at Yale University, in 2015 visiting lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory, and in 2018 HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University.
Ford has written widely on all manner of music and published ten books, most recently The Song Remains the Same with Anni Heino (La Trobe University Press, 2019). He has written, presented and co-produced five radio series for the ABC and, since 1995, presented The Music Show each weekend on Radio National. He was awarded an OAM in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The composer writes:
On Sunday July 3, my Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis will be sung for the first time in Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide (with performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to follow).
I first began imagining a vocal line for the opening words of the Nunc dimittis (‘Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace’) a couple of years ago while out walking my dog. I hummed the tune into my phone and mentioned to Graeme Morton of St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, that I seemed to be developing a setting of one of the Evensong canticles. In the end, the canticles were jointly commissioned by St John’s together with St David’s Cathedral, Hobart; St George’s Cathedral, Perth; Christ Church North Adelaide; Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney; and Trinity College, Melbourne.
It’s always instructive to re-read famous words in the light of contemporary events, and I must say that I’d forgotten how trenchantly the words of the Magnificat dismiss the rich and powerful.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
Ford’s setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis is colourful, full of expression and depth, at times quirky and at times deeply meditative, and we hope it will take a place in the great canon of musical settings of the Canticles.
Please join us for this special event.