Tarney Magnificat

We were delighted to welcome back one of our former students, composer Oliver Tarney to this year’s Summer School. Oliver is currently Head of Composition for the renowned Winchester College and earlier this year we commissioned him to write a special piece for our 50th Anniversary.

The choice for such a grand occasion was a moving new setting of the Magnficat, ‘Mary’s song’, which premiered at our final concert of the Summer School week on 16 August 2015. The piece, conducted by members of the Advanced Course, moved away from the traditional text for Magnificat settings. Rather than choosing to just set the standard text, Oliver used additional material from a variety of sources including non-canonical books of the Bible and the Koran to explore Mary’s reaction to her situation.

It would be something of an understatement to say that the resulting work was a hit with conductors and singers during the week. The atmosphere at the final concert was fantastic, and everyone was extremely excited to be working on such an interesting, singable and moving work. Ultimately this piece will be available for hire from Sing for Pleasure.