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The Canticles of Evening

- Robert F. Dorum

Use: Evening Prayer, Night Prayer
Required Resources: SATB choir
Language: English

Robert F. Dorum has arranged two very useful English settings of the evening canticles, the Magnificat and the Nunc dimittis. In alternatim fashion, the canticles each alternate a unison chant verse with a faux bourdon set for SATB choir. This format was common during the Renaissance.

The Magnificat uses the solemn form of Gregorian Psalm Tone II for the chant verses along with an SATB setting by John Farrant (d.1595). In the Nunc dimittis, Psalm Tone VI alternates with a faux bourdon by Richard Farrant (d.1580), apparently no relation to the John Farrant above. The texts for both of these come from the translations by the International Consultation on English Texts, exactly the words used in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. These would make very effective, yet easy, ways to sing the Gospel canticle.

Beyond its use during the Liturgy of the Hours, this music is appropriate on any Marian feast (Magnificat) and during the later days of Christmastide (Nunc dimittis). Alternatim practice, which is inherent in the antiphon and verses sung in the Gregorian Proper Communio, is very effective during the Communion procession. A correct reading of the rubrics in the GIRM would indicate that the congregation need not be outwardly involved in the singing here, contrary to popular opinion!

Mr. Dorum is a retired high school music teacher in upstate New York, where he also served as organist and choir director for several churches.


Order #: 3105
Price: $1.85


- Liturgical Settings
- Ordinary Time
- SATB Choir

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