Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis

Commissioned by the Coulter Concert Series for Evensong on the feast of All Saints, November 1, 2012, at The Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist, Portland, Oregon
by Scot Crandal
  • Preview Copy (PDF)
  • by Scot Crandal
  • for SATB Choir, Soprano and Baritone Soloists, and Organ (with optional Brass Quartet and Timpani)
  • Seasonal: Advent
  • Liturgical: General, Evensong, Vespers
  • Topical: Marian
  • Text: Luke 1:46-55 (Magnificat) | Luke 2:29–32 (Nunc Dimittis)

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My soul doth magnify the Lord
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth
all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty
hath magnified me and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them
that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy
hath holpen his servant Israel
as he promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning
is now and will be forever. Amen.

Nunc Dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared
before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning
is now and will be forever. Amen.


On the feast of All Saints, Nov 1, 2012, the choirs of The Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist, Portland, Oregon (Scot Crandal, director; Fred Beal, organist) and Christ Church Episcopal, Lake Oswego (Bob Mensel, director) combined to sing the world premiere of Scot's Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in the context of Evensong and Benediction.

Commissioned by the Coulter Concert Series • Composed and Conducted by Scot Crandal • Jocelyn Thomas, Soprano Soloist; Andy McQuery, Baritone Soloist; Fred Beal, Organist • James Smock and Michael Hankins, trumpets; Lars Campbell and David Bryan, trombones; Colin Crandal, timpani
Composed for SATB Choir, Soprano & Baritone soloists, Organ, Brass Quartet, and Timpani • Rod Evenson, recording engineer



The Magnificat (Latin for: [My soul] magnifies), also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary, and in Byzantine tradition the Ode of the Theotokos, is a canticle frequently sung (or spoken) liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle's text.

The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55) where it is spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth's womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings what is now known as the Magnificat in response.

Within Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers within Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) within Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Among Protestant groups, the Magnificat may also be sung during worship services.


The Nunc dimittis, also Song of Simeon or Canticle of Simeon) is a canticle from a text in the second chapter of Luke named after its incipit in Latin, meaning 'Now you dismiss...' (Luke 2:29–32), often used as the final song in a religious service.

According to the narrative in Luke, Simeon was a devout Jew who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of consecration of the firstborn son (not the circumcision, but rather after the time of Mary's purification: at least 40 days after the birth), Simeon was there, and he took Jesus into his arms and uttered the words of the Nunc dimittis.