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Mary Said Yes

Composer Russell Schulz-Widmar
Text Richard Leach

Voicing SATB and keyboard
Church Season Advent
2' 30" Price $1.95 (U.S.) Released 12/94
Catalog no. 405-201 Difficulty Moderately easy
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"It was clear from the enthusiastic response to both this and to Russell Schulz-Widmar's Mary Said Yes that they were high moments in the recent AAM Conference's reading session with David Schaap. Mary Said Yes is all that People, Look East is and more; being on a larger scale, more is demanded, and Schulz-Widmar provides it with inspired restraint. The gentle climax at the beginning of the last stanza is a great illustration: as a soprano counter melody rises from a low b to a high f-sharp, the tenors and basses begin the stanza, only to be answered by the altos in canon. This is undoubtedly the loveliest moment in all this music under review; it is so simple, so well done, and so effective. This piece deserves to be around for some time; when a new edition is made, lots of rehearsal time could be saved by removing the 'stop sign' (railroad tracks) in the sixth bar from the end and by making it a 4/4 measure with a quarter-note rest: 'Ma-ry said [rest]/yes." -AAM Journal, September 1995

"Amongst all the numerous and sundry Magnificats which make their appearance around Advent IV, Mary Said Yes stands out as an unusual treatment of Mary's story. Based on the composer's hymn tune Bordy, the writing is very accessible to singer and listener alike--warm, tastefully sentimental, and not difficult. The format is the usual 'women-men-harmony-unison with descant' of so many hymn anthems; the rather extraordinary text by Richard Leach deals honestly with things like the pain and labor to which Mary also said 'yes.' Here is a beautiful marriage of text and tune that also makes the singer and listener think beyond the musical notes." --Jane Bourdow, AAM Journal, December 2002

Comments from the Author, Richard Leach
In Luke chapter 1, the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her that she will be the mother of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. At first Mary questions. Then she says, "Let it be with me according to your word." This anthem begins with Mary's question: "How can this be?" It moves on to speak of what she says "yes" to when she says, "Let it be"--pregnancy and childbirth, the God who addresses her through Gabriel, her son and the new future for the world that he will bring. The anthem then asks whether we can say yes as Mary did, giving ourselves without reservation, body and soul, to the purposes of God. It closes with praise to the Trinity.

A remarkable new text by Richard Leach in an effective and appealing setting. It uses images of Mary's bearing Jesus as a model for living a Christian life.

Anthem text
Told of God's favor, told of God's purpose,
Mary said, "Tell me, how can this be?"
Told of the Spirit, told of the power,
told of the promise, Mary said yes.

Yes to conceiving, yes to the body
changing and growing, yes to the flesh.
Yes to the new life kicking within her,
yes to the pleasure, yes to the pain.

Yes to the waiting, yes to the labor,
yes to the hurting, yes to the birth.
Yes to the baby, yes to the future,
yes to the holy, yes to the world.

Told of Christ Jesus, told of the Spirit,
can we say yes as Mary said yes?
Yes for our bodies, yes for our spirits,
yes for the future, yes for right now?

Praise to the Spirit, praise to the Most High
sending the word that Mary was told.
Praise to Christ Jesus, who was made welcome
into or world when Mary said yes.

Text: Richard Leach
© 1994 Selah Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15227. All rights reserved.

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