Twelve Days of Christmas Music IX

Mary’s response to Elisabeth’s salutation, from Luke 1:46-55 is known as “Magnificat”, and has probably been set to music (nearly) as often as Gabriel’s speech known as “Ave Maria.” Here are a few centuries’ worth:

Manuel Cardoso
Howells (woodboy, if you’re reading, tell me which one this is!)
Stanford (in G) (in C)
Dyson (in D)
John Tavener (b. 1945)
Arvo Part


  1. Fantastic collection of Magnificats. Thanks! And gotta love that “Dyson in D.”

  2. i have been reading all of these. great collection.
    The Howells you linked to is the St. Paul’s service, a great one and probably his most well known canticles. I like Gloucester the best though, because of that cool modal section at the beginning of the Gloria.

  3. Also, i think you spelled Tavener wrong. Tavener is the 20th century composer, Taverner is the 16th century one.
    I only point it out in case someone is trying to track it down so it doesn’t cause confusion. Both are excellent composers.

  4. Thanks, wb–I always screw up the Tave(r)ner thing.

  5. Another great Magnificat is from Monteverdi’s 1610 vespers. It’s fresh in my mind, since last night I attended what may have been the first of many 400th anniversary performances.