Osbert Parsley (1511- 1585): Magnificat

Osbert who? No, I’d never heard of him either. I stumbled across this music video of his magnificat on YouTube and looked him up in Grove, (whose entry for him is rather short). His career took place in almost entirely in Norwich where he was a ‘singing man’ in the cathedral’s choir. As you can see from his birth and death dates his life and career spanned the most tumultuous period of the English reformation. From his entry in Grove it seems that he was more comfortable composing in Latin than English which – given that Norwich Cathedral was a hotbed of opposition to the reformers leads me to suspect he was probably more sympathetic to Catholicism than he was to the reformers. The video of his magnificat is of Alistair Dixon’s reconstruction of Parsley’s Magnificat as sung and recorded at the end of the 2010 Southwell Tudor Music Course. Enjoy :-).


The choir of the 2010 perform Alistair Dixon’s reconstruction of Osbert Parsley’s Magnificat from the Evening Canticles

Video Source: Osbert Parsley – Magnificat – YouTube Uploaded by LMCourses on Jan 24, 2011

Text: Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
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 shewed 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 forefather Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

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