Fayrfax’s 5-part (treble, mean, contratenor, tenor and bass) setting of the Magnificat takes a now lost antiphon O bone Jesu(O good Jesus) as its starting point. It’s and alternatim setting with Fayrfax setting only the even-numbered verses leaving the odd-numbered ones as chant. Like most of his music it combines clarity with some very complex rhythmic writing. It’s a particularly clearly written piece with a balance and a strikingly direct clarity of textual utterance that was very unusual in early Tudor sacred choral music. I find it particularly interesting because Fayrfax achieved this clarity while sticking rigorously to the English descant putting the original chant melody was in the middle with the other two parts a fourth above and a third below the chant with modified cadences to achieve perfect intervals. Enjoy :-).
Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521): Magnificat super O bone Jesu
Text & Translation: Magnificat
|Latin||Modern English||Traditional Translation|
|Magnificat anima mea Dominum.||My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.||My soul doth magnify the Lord:|
|Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.||And my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.||and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.|
|Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:||For he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his handmaiden:||For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his hand-maiden.|
|ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.||behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.||For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.|
|Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est:||For he that is mighty has done wondrous things for me:||For he that is mighty hath magnified me:|
|et sanctum nomen eius.||and holy is his name.||and holy is his Name.|
|Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.||And his mercy is upon them |
that fear him throughout all generations.
|And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.|
|Fecit potentiam in bracchio suo:||He has shown the power of his arm:||He hath shewed strength with his arm:|
|dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.||he has scattered the proud in their conceit.||he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.|
|Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.||He has put down the mighty from their seat, and has exalted the humble and meek.||He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.|
|Esurientes implevit bonis:||He has filled the hungry with good things:||He hath filled the hungry with good things:|
|et divites dimisit inanes.||and the rich he has sent empty away.||and the rich he hath sent empty away.|
|Suscepit Israel, puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae.||He has sustained his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy.||He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel:|
|Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, |
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula. Luke 1: 46-55
|As he promised to our forefathers, |
Abraham and his sons for ever.
|As he promised to our forefather Abraham and to his seed for ever.|
|Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. |
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
|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,
world without end. Amen.
|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.
Performers: Magnificat conducted by David Skinner