• 2(pic)222/4231/timp.perc/str
  • timp/org/str
  • SATB
  • soprano
  • 20 min

Programme Note

Geoffrey Bush: Cantata: In Praise of Mary

Prologue:Hail Mary, full of grace
There is no rose of such virtue
A maid peerless Adam lay y-bounden
Lully, Lullay - A Corpus Christi Carol

In Praise of Mary was written for first performance at the 1955 Three Choirs Festival. In six short movements, it is a typical product of its composer, beautifully crafted so that it is as good to sing as it is to hear. The fresh quality of the textures is as notable as the shapely melodic lines. The first movement presents as an orchestral introduction before a choral exposition of the text. The second movement is in three sections, two rhapsodic passages for solo soprano separated by a more energetic choral passage. The third movement is a dialogue between the solo and chorus sopranos interspersed with music for the mens voices of the choir. The fourth movement is the most energetic and the most extended, the syncopated patterns of the choir and orchestra interrupted once by the solo soprano who begins the Corpus Christi Carol with a gently rocking motif, hands it on to the choir, in unison at first and then in dramatic harmony, before singing the peroration. With the final movement, the serene key of D major is established by an ecstatic Alleluia from the choir rising to a great climax before some recapitulation of the music of the first two movements which lead to a quiet ending.


Bush: In Praise Of Mary