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Home : mUSiciansKey Commissions : 2013 Magnificat


Composer: Gerard Brophy
Commissioned by:
 Leichhardt Espresso Chorus
Premiere: The 2013 Magnificat Luminosity concert on 14-Apr-2013 
Movements: 3

LEC's Musical Director (Michelle Leonard) commissioned Gerard Brophy to compose Magnificat for the Magnificat Luminosity concert in April 2013.

Gerard Brophy is one of Australia's foremost composers. Recent compositions include the sell-out season of his ballet Yo Yai Pakebi, Man Mai Yapobi choreographed by Regina van Berkel and performed by the Residentie Orkest and the Nederlands Dans Theater; the premiere seasons of Semele and Halcyon as part of the Australian Ballet’s highly successful Interplay and Edge of Night programs, and the Song Company's tour of Gethsemane, his contemporary passion play.

This new work uses the text of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) along with some aphoristic Indian texts. The three movements are Antiphon, Magnificat and Devi Mantra. It is scored for soprano saxophone, string quintet, choir and Himalayan Singing Bowls (played by members of the choir). Composer Gerard Brophy says: "It is unfolding as an atmospheric and evocative response to this marvellous text. It is a piece that focusses on the sumptuousness of sonority and it also provides space for relocation in this way exploring the commonalities between religions especially between Western religion and Eastern thought".


O flowering stem, in your nobility, you open up like the dawn

Now rejoice and be glad and free us from evil ways, weak as we are

O flowering stem , o flowering stem, stretch out your hand to lift us up


My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
He looks upon his servant in her humility
And from now on all generations shall call me blessed

The Lord has done great things for me
And holy is His name
His mercy extends from age to age
Upon those who fear Him 

My soul magnifies the Lord, my soul magnifies the Lord
Magnifies, my soul, my soul, my soul
O Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Lord 

Devi Mantra

Gerard Brophy explains the inspiration for this movement:

"Devi is a Sanskrit word that is current in modern day Hindi . It has a multiplicity of meanings: Goddess, divine, deity, queen. It is also used as a first name for women. Devi appears in many avatars, the most prominent being Durga, Radha, Sati, Lakshmi and Saraswati. In her many manifestations she is arguably the most loved and venerated female god in the Hindu pantheon. Thus this movement is a paean to her in keeping with the overall theme of the three pieces as being a celebration of the Feminine and the Divine."

"I compiled/created the text in Hindi. It is an exceedingly polite language and nowhere is this more apparent than in the distinction between the two 2nd person pronouns ' tum ' and ' tu '. Tum is quite an informal, familiar way of addressing someone. Even greater familiarity is assumed by the use of tu which is a very intimate way of addressing someone. Thus in addressing God 'Tu meri jan hai' - You are my life/soul. You would never say 'Tum meri etc.'".

Conversation with Gerard Brophy

LEC Artistic Director Michelle Leonard talks to composer Gerard Brophy about the inspiration for this work: