The Annunciation Frederick Viner

The Annunciation cover
Text/libretto by
15th century lyric 'I syng of a mayden'
4 mins 48 secs
1 SATB Choir

Purchasing options

Vocal score ISMN 57036-926-3 £2.75

for SATB divisi

Programme note

'The Annunciation’ sets the 15th century lyric ‘I syng of a mayden’, a carol that predates modern favourites by quite a few centuries. Despite its age (and quirky Middle English spelling), the text has inspired countless modern-day musical settings owing to its inherent melodic and rhythmic qualities, not to mention the first quatrain which explicitly evokes song.

My version features several conventional characteristics, such as a strophic form and an arch-shaped tune that recalls traditional folksong through its modal inflections. However, these archaic elements are subverted through the use of lush, extended-note chords that obscure the home key and rhapsodic soprano solos that stretch and warp the structure. This amalgam of conflicting elements ultimately concludes with a tranquillissimo section in which all musical and textual disputes are put to rest; here the music gradually fades away, setting the powerful final words ‘God’s mother be’.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

'The Annunciation' was awarded the University of York's STR music composition prize, sponsored by Sean Rourke, the only work to be named in advance in the 'mystery' programme of music from the 16th to the 20th centuries given by The 24 on 19.02.2020 at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

The 24, directed by Robert Hollingworth, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, 19th February 2020