To mark the commencement of our twelfth season and Dodgson’s centenary, Artistic Director, James Day, the Barnes Festival Orchestra and the award-winning Pegasus Choir present a celebratory programme containing two Magnificats composed 250 years apart.
J. S. Bach’s setting, which represents his first major liturgical work with a Latin text, employs the most lavish orchestral forces available to him in May 1723 as the recently appointed Leipzig Thomaskantor. Evidently eager to impress his new employers, Bach’s vivid rendering of the canticle borders on madrigalian and manages to maintain an impressive brevity (most performances lasting about 30 minutes) as required by the constraints of the Vespers service. The resulting density of colourful expression and dramatic virtuosity makes it one of Bach’s most performed choral works today.
Inspired by Bach’s work, and commissioned as a companion piece by the Tilford Bach Society in 1974, Stephen Dodgson’s Magnificat employs almost identical instrumentation and vocal forces. Notable exceptions require the three trumpeters to use mutes and the percussionist to play a tamtam, a vibraphone and a tambourine alongside the three timpani. The music itself is non experimental, retaining strong links with traditional practice which can be heard in the plainness of the choral textures, deliberately conceived so as not to compromise the clarity of the text.
Barnes Festival Orchestra
Barnes Festival Soloists
James Day, Conductor
J. S. Bach Magnificat
Stephen Dodgson Magnificat
Concert patrons – Lord and Lady Patten
Supported by Stephen Dodgson Charitable Trust