Manchester Magnificat for choir, soloists and orchestra

by David Warin Solomons

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about

One of two performances of the Manchester Magnificat: This is the original version with orchestra. The other - coming soon - has piano and organ accompaniment.
The work, based on poems by Audrey Vaughan, follows the spiritual, industrial and political history of Manchester.

Music by David Warin Solomons
Realisation by Guy Protheroe

Performed by the Budapest Scoring Choir, Orchestra and Soloists under Zoltán Pad

Tenor soloist: József Gál
Treble soloist: Csongor Gyulai
"Magnificat anima mea Dominum" sang the Virgin Mary, "My soul magnifies the Lord"....

The title of this Cantata is chosen to represent the "soul" of Manchester, which is its Cathedral, so the central point is the Cathedral,dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, St George of England and St Denys of France. Ever since it was built, a life of prayer, intercession, worship and thanksgiving has continued within its walls. It has become the focus of the religious life, and needs, of the city of Manchester.

The opening gentle oboe solo leads us back to the earliest days of the church when - as the words of the chorus remind us - there was only a small township sharing the site above the protective loop of the river Irwell. The days were punctuated by the regular call of the bells summoning the members of the college of priests for whom the church was built: their vow was to praise God "from the rising of the sun to its setting" [a solis ortu usque ad occasum]. Seven times a day they assembled in the choir stalls.

In the next section, the chorus recalls the days when the view from the church was rural and the seasons ordered the agriculture.

The peace of this picture is interrupted by accented brass introducing the tenor soloist, who reminds us of the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, which radically changed the environs of the Cathedral. The chorus joins in with visions of blast furnaces, the relentless beat of machinery in the cotton mills and the danger and suffocating dust of the coal mines which even seeped into the miners' ears and caused deafness. The world had become obsessed by commerce and the gentle sounds of nature were replaced by the hard noise of clogs on sett-paved streets.

By 1819, Manchester had begun to grow up the hill from the Cathedral, but even so, there were still fields not very far away. One August day there was a gathering on one such field by St Peter's. The following section evokes the massacre there, dubbed "Peterloo". Under the sabres a child dies.

The phrase with which the tenor introduces that tragedy is reiterated for another: the Second World War; but here the trebles represent the many prayers offered in the Cathedral, both publicly and privately, during that evil time when even the Cathedral itself suffered attack.


An orchestral interlude follows as we wait in hope for victory over evil. The Cathedral again takes the central place, as it was filled with praise and thanksgiving in 1945, with a crescendo of "Magnificat! To the greater glory of God". It was for this that it was built, and for the comfort and consolation of all who still come to pray for peace and hope in the strong calm of its walls.

The poems are as follows:

A moon-mist whispers, silver-lifting, drifting,
twining through the night-grey grasses,
seeping over Irwell's eddies.
Wraith, and wanton,
trailing skirts of dew
on setts and stones,
and touching tower and arch,
while pinnacles, black against the sky,
reach fingers to the eastern dawn:

A solis ortu usque ad occasum, (soloist: From the rising to the setting of the sun)
laudabile nomen Domini (soloist: the praiseworthy name of the Lord)
Seven times a day will I praise thee...

St Denys pray me peace
Sweet Mary pray my soul,
St George thee me defend...

A solis ortu usque ad occasum,
laudabile nomen Domini
Seven times a day will I praise thee...


Land, that once was soft-slipper trod,
or pressed by foot unshod;
That summer-soft trees
whispered sunbeams through
to toss, unseen, the hidden perfumes
from the meadow-sweet upon the breeze;

That folded stone, and thatch;
and circled woodscent smoke,
drifting, slow, towards the sky;
or slept;
a resting, plough-lined soil and garnered wealth, beneath the winterwhite;

Or cowered and moaned, torn, whirling,
cruel, and yet kind, in cleansing gales;

And nurtured polysyllabic streams,
and rivers flowing full of sustenance
in tranquil bubble-frosted salmon-hides.



Land, lost, beneath hard feet unrhythmic shod;
beneath adulterated bricks,
hard-quarried and unnatural stone,
Squared eye-unkind palaces of commerce, acquisition;

Beneath a black destroying slime of fumes,
and battered with a red and pounding blast;


Land; hurried over,
trampled on, ignored;
beaten down...



The hum and whine,
and clank and grind,

and trip and switch
and shuttle-click;
and thunder clang

in drab and dark
and furnace spark;
and sweep, and rush,
cascade, cascade all round and down,
and mine black tendrils
round ear coils
and drown sound down.



I will show wonders in heaven, and on earth blood...
Blood!
and death and widows;
and orphan cries;
and blood spilled fresh on Peter's field,

as August sun strikes flash and spark
from beating hooves, and fear's down-dash sabres.


Mother! Ah!


I will show wonders in heaven,
and on earth blood, and fire, and whirling smoke.


Ave Maria; Maria, ora pro nobis;
Saint Mary pray me peace
Ora...
Dona eis requiem


I will show wonders in heaven


Sing a new song to the Lord for He has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation!
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp,
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn.
Acclaim the King, the Lord!

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever.

And thorned red rose of England cries:
"Magnificat! Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam!"


Oh Sweet Mary, pray my soul;
Saint Denys, pray me peace...
peace.

credits

released June 19, 2016

Budapest Scoring Choir, Orchestra and Soloists under Zoltán Pad
Tenor soloist: József Gál
Treble soloist: Csongor Gyulai

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about

David Warin Solomons Sale, UK

Composer from UK born in 1953, concentrating on lyrical and tonal works for chamber music combinations, solo voice and choral works.

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Track Name: Manchester Magnificat for choir, soloists and orchestra - complete
A moon-mist whispers, silver-lifting, drifting,
twining through the night-grey grasses,
seeping over Irwell's eddies.
Wraith, and wanton,
trailing skirts of dew
on setts and stones,
and touching tower and arch,
while pinnacles, black against the sky,
reach fingers to the eastern dawn:

A solis ortu usque ad occasum, (soloist: From the rising to the setting of the sun)
laudabile nomen Domini (soloist: the praiseworthy name of the Lord)
Seven times a day will I praise thee...

St Denys pray me peace
Sweet Mary pray my soul,
St George thee me defend...

A solis ortu usque ad occasum,
laudabile nomen Domini
Seven times a day will I praise thee...


Land, that once was soft-slipper trod,
or pressed by foot unshod;
That summer-soft trees
whispered sunbeams through
to toss, unseen, the hidden perfumes
from the meadow-sweet upon the breeze;

That folded stone, and thatch;
and circled woodscent smoke,
drifting, slow, towards the sky;
or slept;
a resting, plough-lined soil and garnered wealth, beneath the winterwhite;

Or cowered and moaned, torn, whirling,
cruel, and yet kind, in cleansing gales;

And nurtured polysyllabic streams,
and rivers flowing full of sustenance
in tranquil bubble-frosted salmon-hides.



Land, lost, beneath hard feet unrhythmic shod;
beneath adulterated bricks,
hard-quarried and unnatural stone,
Squared eye-unkind palaces of commerce, acquisition;

Beneath a black destroying slime of fumes,
and battered with a red and pounding blast;


Land; hurried over,
trampled on, ignored;
beaten down...



The hum and whine,
and clank and grind,

and trip and switch
and shuttle-click;
and thunder clang

in drab and dark
and furnace spark;
and sweep, and rush,
cascade, cascade all round and down,
and mine black tendrils
round ear coils
and drown sound down.



I will show wonders in heaven, and on earth blood...
Blood!
and death and widows;
and orphan cries;
and blood spilled fresh on Peter's field,

as August sun strikes flash and spark
from beating hooves, and fear's down-dash sabres.


Mother! Ah!


I will show wonders in heaven,
and on earth blood, and fire, and whirling smoke.


Ave Maria; Maria, ora pro nobis;
Saint Mary pray me peace
Ora...
Dona eis requiem


I will show wonders in heaven


Sing a new song to the Lord for He has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation!
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp,
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn.
Acclaim the King, the Lord!

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever.

And thorned red rose of England cries:
"Magnificat! Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam!"


Oh Sweet Mary, pray my soul;
Saint Denys, pray me peace...
peace.
Track Name: Excerpt: Introduction, Peaceful Nature and Worship Section
A moon-mist whispers, silver-lifting, drifting,
twining through the night-grey grasses,
seeping over Irwell's eddies.
Wraith, and wanton,
trailing skirts of dew
on setts and stones,
and touching tower and arch,
while pinnacles, black against the sky,
reach fingers to the eastern dawn:

A solis ortu usque ad occasum, (soloist: From the rising to the setting of the sun)
laudabile nomen Domini (soloist: the praiseworthy name of the Lord)
Seven times a day will I praise thee...

St Denys pray me peace
Sweet Mary pray my soul,
St George thee me defend...

A solis ortu usque ad occasum,
laudabile nomen Domini
Seven times a day will I praise thee...


Land, that once was soft-slipper trod,
or pressed by foot unshod;
That summer-soft trees
whispered sunbeams through
to toss, unseen, the hidden perfumes
from the meadow-sweet upon the breeze;

That folded stone, and thatch;
and circled woodscent smoke,
drifting, slow, towards the sky;
or slept;
a resting, plough-lined soil and garnered wealth, beneath the winterwhite;

Or cowered and moaned, torn, whirling,
cruel, and yet kind, in cleansing gales;

And nurtured polysyllabic streams,
and rivers flowing full of sustenance
in tranquil bubble-frosted salmon-hides.
Track Name: Excerpt: The Industrial Revolution and the Peterloo Massacre
Land, lost, beneath hard feet unrhythmic shod;
beneath adulterated bricks,
hard-quarried and unnatural stone,
Squared eye-unkind palaces of commerce, acquisition;

Beneath a black destroying slime of fumes,
and battered with a red and pounding blast;


Land; hurried over,
trampled on, ignored;
beaten down...



The hum and whine,
and clank and grind,

and trip and switch
and shuttle-click;
and thunder clang

in drab and dark
and furnace spark;
and sweep, and rush,
cascade, cascade all round and down,
and mine black tendrils
round ear coils
and drown sound down.



I will show wonders in heaven, and on earth blood...
Blood!
and death and widows;
and orphan cries;
and blood spilled fresh on Peter's field,

as August sun strikes flash and spark
from beating hooves, and fear's down-dash sabres.


Mother! Ah!


I will show wonders in heaven,
and on earth blood, and fire, and whirling smoke.
Track Name: Excerpt: Ave Maria (sung by the Trebles)
Ave Maria; Maria, ora pro nobis;
Saint Mary pray me peace
Ora...
Dona eis requiem
Track Name: Excerpt: Sing a new song to the Lord (psalm 98)
Sing a new song to the Lord for He has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation!
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp,
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn.
Acclaim the King, the Lord!
Track Name: Excerpt: Joyful Magnificat and peaceful end
"Magnificat! Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam!"


Oh Sweet Mary, pray my soul;
Saint Denys, pray me peace...
peace.