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Choral works

Magdalena

Year of composition: 2019

I have always been particularly attracted to those figures in the gospels who show human frailty and thus draw from Christ sympathy and even empathy. Mary Magdalen is a perfect example and in this new work for the Addison Singers (dedicated to David Wordsworth) I have taken a sequence that illustrates this.

To bring out the tenderness of the washing of the Lordís feet with her tears, I have purloined a lilting melody from my clarinet quintet which was inspired by medieval music. Furthermore I have introduced to the otherwise Latin text a passage in English.

The title is also a reference to a particularly memorable journey I made up the Magdalena River in Colombia in 2018. The music begins and ends with paeans of praise to the King of Kings.

© Michael Berkeley