The MAGNIFICAT is the Virgin Mary’s song of praise to God after one of the Bible’s greatest wonders: the angel Gabriel visiting her with the message that she is to be the mother of God’s son. In his setting composer Kim André Arnesen expresses the feelings Mary must have felt: wonder, devotion, gratitude, joy, humility, hope and compassion. God’s selection of an unknown woman living in poverty to be the mother of His son is a bottom-up view of the world if ever there was one – and Arnesen sees the Magnificat as offering support and hope for all people struggling against adversity or in need of strength. MUSICA CELESTIS portrays the ceaseless praising of God by angels in heaven. Aaron Jay Kernis builds his work around a fairly simple melody which he remoulds in a series of variations. The intensely beautiful and mostly barren Hardangervidda mountain plateau inspired Ola Gjeilo to write TUNDRA, while his SONG OF THE UNIVERSAL expresses unabashed optimism, exuberance and poet Walt Whitman’s unwavering confidence in our deeper humanity – all through the prism of a big, warm, beating heart.
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