Written for Francis Grier and the Choir of Christ Church Oxford

  • 5 min

Programme Note

Giles Swayne: Magnificat

My Magnificat was written in 1982 in response to a commission from Christ Church College, Oxford, whose choir first performed it under their conductor Francis Grier in July of that year.

At that time I was still reeling from the impact of my belated discovery of African music. In the previous year I had spent two months in Senegal and the Gambia, researching and making recordings of the music of the Jola people of that region. One of the songs I collected during this trip was a work-song which I recorded in a small village called Badem Karantaba, about thirty miles south-east of Ziguinchor in the Casamance region of southern Senegal. I used the opening call of this song to begin the Magnificat; it returns as a refrain towards the end.

© GS


Magnificat I, Op. 33