Friday, December 5, 2014

Leo Sowerby - Magnificat in e minor George Dyson - Magnificat in C minor

Canterbury Singers (USA) Singing at Norwich Cathedral (England) conducted by Jim Metzler

Other than the Tippett version I began this series with, this is one of my favorite setting of this type, in English, with a chorus accompanied by organ.  Sowerby was an American composer who was a lot better than the attention he's given would lead you to believe.  I will post more of his music in the coming year.

The performance by an American chorus in an English cathedral is a good test of what I said about British choirs and enunciation.  Though, since the high voices are sung by women instead of boys (it's ridiculous that they don't let girls in) it's not a real test.  The articulation is fair to good, I'd say.  In so far as you can tell on an mp4.  

Here, by contrast, is one of the settings by George Dyson (Freeman Dyson's father) which is far more conventional, though not really bad.  It is a treble solo line supported by organ.  At least the words are intelligible, unusual for British setting.

You can compare that with his settings in D Major and F Major.  As someone notes, it sounds like someone is using an incense censor as the one in F is being sung.

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