Works > Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis for Double Choir

Key details

Programme note

Joshua Quinlan's "Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis", scored for unaccompanied double choir, is a contemporary take on what has been an integral part of the liturgical tradition for centuries. It combines expansive harmonies and lyrical melodies with rhythmical drive in order to produce an exciting piece that pays homage to the beautiful text on which the music is set, making it appropraite for usage in both liturgical and concert settings.

The piece comprises of varying textures and colours which are fundamentally based on the relationship between the two choirs, at times supporting one another and at other times presenting opposing compositional ideas. Throughout the piece, a number of solo voices emerge from within the choir, which are used to highlight particularly poignant sections of text; these are often supported by drone-like harmonies from the lower voices.

The piece very much follows the contour of the text, comprising of both moments for reflection and glorious tutti choir sections. The Gloria is perhaps the greatest example of this, drawing on material from the Magnificat; it starts with a traditional-sounding homophonic setting of the text "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost", before returning to the highly-rhythmical content that we hear at the beginning of the Magnificat, quickly exploding into the expansively-written "world without end" and fading away into the "Amen".

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Note: All translations used are taken from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662.


My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden: For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
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.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel:
As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

Nunc Dimitis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Repeat the Gloria

Many thanks for your interest in purchasing the score for Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis for Double Choir
Choral scores can be obtained from the Universal Edition website.