1962 Book of Common Prayer (E)
World premiere of version
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
BBC Philharmonic and BBC Singers / James MacMillan
Choral level of difficulty: 2-3 (5 greatest)
MacMillan’s large-scale festival setting of the Nunc Dimittis, commissioned by Winchester Cathedral, can be performed with organ or orchestra. The choral style is simple and often homophonic - unusual for the composer. Much of the elaboration of the textual imagery occurs in the introspective, Messiaen-tinged non-choral episodes, evoking evening and birdsong. The Nunc Dimittis starts wonderfully with very low bass notes portraying the elderly Simeon. It builds to a huge and exciting climax and ends with the basses’ low notes once more.
Repertoire note by Paul Spicer