Alessandro Grandi: Venetian Christmas Vespers Magnificat – Voices of Music

The Christmas Vespers Magnificat, published in Venice in 1630 by Alessandro Grandi. High Definition video from the Venetian Christmas Vespers Concert, December, 2013, performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music. Featuring (Left to Right) Laura Heimes and Jennifer Ellis Kampani, sopranos; John Taylor Ward, baritone; Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin; Carla Moore, baroque violin; Lisa Grodin, baroque viola; William Skeen, viola da gamba; David Tayler, archlute and Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ.
Scored for three voices and continuo, Grandi’s Vespers of 1630 present a unique way of declaiming text: each section is framed with an individual rhythmic and harmonic profile, and the three singers combine for solos, duos and trios, using rhythmic shapes that allow the text to be clearly heard at all times; at the same time, the rhythm is set in a way that allows each singer to flex the words and phrases according to the internal accent, meter and syllable length of the text. In his setting of the Magnificat, Grandi skillfully navigates the verses so that each section flows seamlessly into the next.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius. Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbosmente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes emplevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum
recordatus misericordiae suae. Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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 done to me great things:
and holy is his name And his mercy is on them
that fear Him from generation to generation.
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 exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things:
and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He, in remembrance of his mercy, hath helped
his servant Israel. As He spoke to our fathers, to
Abraham and his seed, forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, without end. Amen.

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