The Prescott Canticles
Carson P. Cooman

Composer Carson P. Cooman
Text Magnificat
and Nunc Dimittis,
1662 Book of Common Prayer
Voicing SATB, a cappella
Lectionary usage Advent,
Topic Evensong
Price $2.75 (U.S.)
Length Released 6/18
Catalog no. 410-924
Difficulty Mod. easy

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Anthem text
My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
   For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
   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 showed 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 forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
   Glory be to the Father, &c.
   As it was in the beginning, &c.

Nunc Dimittis
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
   For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
   Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
   To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
   Glory be to the Father, &c.
   As it was in the beginning, &c.

review copy

Carson Cooman has written a moderately easy setting of the traditional Evensong canticles, designed to be effective even with a small choir. In the “Magnificat,” the melody soars over a rising ostinato figure. The “Nunc dimittis” (with a gently bouncing accompaniment) finds a sense of quiet, child-like joy in the vision of the aged Simeon seeing the infant Jesus.

"Carson Cooman’s Prescott service, written on the occasion of Prescott Jun Burt-Chang’s birthday, offers choirs the opportunity to tightly unify the music of an Evensong Service. Both the canticles and the responses are modest in scope, among the shortest of settings of these texts. Yet typical of Cooman’s works, the pieces are replete with interesting ideas. Parts never divide throughout the service, and extended passages are in unison, particularly in the Magnificat. With modest ranges and straight forward homophonic writing, these moderately easy pieces would suit almost any choir. The organ part plays equal partner, contributing its own motivic ideas and development. The Magnificat, for instance, is built on a series of block chords rising by thirds, and this motif supplies much of the material throughout the responses as well. The Nunc dimittis begins with an animated repetitive figure in the organ accompaniment, creating a more active musical mood than is typical for settings of this text. The choral writing is much smoother and counterbalances the bounce of the accompaniment, forming an attractive tapestry of sound. The very simple Gloria Patri is common to both canticles, although Cooman alters the accompaniment in the closing cadence to provide more finality to the Nunc dimittis. This service is well worth considering for any choir, especially those less fluent with singing Evensong." --AAM Journal, January 2019


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