The St. David Canticles
Craig Phillips

Composer Craig Phillips
Text Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Voicing SATB, and organ
Lectionary usage Advent
Topic Evensong
Price $3.25 (U.S.)
Length Released 6/18
Catalog no. 410-927
Difficulty Mod. difficult

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Anthem text
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 showed 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, &c.
   As it was in the beginning, &c.

Nunc Dimittis
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.
   Glory be to the Father, &c.
   As it was in the beginning, &c.

review copy

Craig Phillips’s “St. David Canticles” were written for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Roswell, Georgia. The music of the Magnificat has a bit of the atmosphere of Celtic and Appalachian folk music. The Nunc dimittis is very gentle and atmospheric, with lush organ harmonies that alternate with and support the choral parts. (The Gloria Patri is repeated.)

"Craig Phillips, himself an AAM member, has also written an Evening Service for a fellow AAM member, this time Ernest Plunkett and his choir at St. David’s Church, Roswell, Georgia. Phillips is characteristically inventive and fecund in his approach to these familiar words. These canticles have a wealth of compositional ideas, interesting textures, and compelling melodies. Phillips moves adroitly from one tonal area to another without ever fully abandoning the home key of D-flat major. The excursions into other keys, including some far-flung destinations like E-major, always enrich the basic tonality rather than obscure it. The organ accompaniment is as rich in ideas as the choral parts, developing its own character and personality. It rarely doubles the voices, although it helpfully underpins the choral harmony. The intricacy of both organ and vocal parts would pose challenges for a combined organist-choirmaster. The Nunc dimittis is built on a particularly effective accompanimental texture akin to style brisé. The pointillistic nature of the accompaniment creates an atmosphere that is simultaneously peaceful and gently yearning, a dichotomy extremely appropriate for the text. Choral homophony spins out the text in steady motion with little drama. As with the Magnificat, the Gloria Patri emerges from the closing strains of the canticle seamlessly. Each Gloria Patri fits its particular canticle uniquely, capping the movement with a satisfying coda." --AAM Journal, Jan. 2019


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