The Portland Canticles
Alfred V. Fedak

Composer Alfred V. Fedak
Text Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Voicing SATB, organ
Lectionary usage Advent
Topic Evensong
Price $2.75 (U.S.)
Length Released 6/18
Catalog no. 410-924
Difficulty Mod. diff.

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Alfred V. Fedak’s “Portland Canticles” were commissioned by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Portland, Maine in celebration of Albert Melton’s 20th anniversary as Organist/Choirmaster. The exuberant Magnificat with its full choral sound contrasts with the song-like Nunc dimittis, which offers the option for an extended baritone (or section) solo. (The Gloria Patri is repeated.)

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

"Alfred Fedak’s Portland Canticles were commissioned to honor AAM member Albert Melton on his twentieth anniversary at St. Luke’s Cathedral. The music has an appropriately festive spirit. The main thematic element is redolent of John Williamsesque movie music, but not in an unattractive way. The choral parts are generally homophonic with intuitive motion and stable harmonies. Fedak’s finely honed skill as a choral composer is clear throughout the canticles which are abounding with tuneful melodies and graceful musical gestures. The Nunc dimittis begins with a baritone solo, with the composer’s provision of a section for full tenors and basses as alternatives. When the full choir enters, it is in unison, breaking into four-part harmony only for the final phrase. One brief setting of the Gloria Patri serves both canticles. The Portland Canticles would be a fine addition for any choir’s library, and it would particularly serve ensembles that are in the early stages of building an Evensong repertoire. Choirs of all sizes and abilities would enjoy these finely written settings." --AAM Journal, January 2019



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