Canticles

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musicus
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Canticles

Post by musicus » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:09 pm

Having agreed to set the Magnifcat and Nunc Dimittis for an Anglican celebration later this year I thought I would check what the current translation is. I was surprised to find that the texts as set out in Common Worship are significantly different from those with which I am familiar (presumably from the Book of Common Prayer).

I'd be very grateful if any Anglican reader (or well-informed non-Anglican) could tell me which is the official text of these canticles (or even if there are any official versions). Or, to put it another way: which texts would a composer be expected to set for use in the current C of E liturgy?
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londonchurchman
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Re: Canticles

Post by londonchurchman » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:23 pm

The Official Liturgy of the CofE is still the Book of Common Prayer, but Common Worship (2000) is an authorised alternative - and confusingly includes both modern and traditional language alternatives of the Offices, as well as (for the Holy Communion) both the Cranmerian shape, and the modern western shape used in most mainstream denominations.

As far as the use of these liturgies, it is generally the case that the modern Common Worship shape is used in most parishes (and indeed Cathedrals) for Sung Eucharists, with the BCP generally used for the early (normally 8am) said service.

As far as Choral Evensong ( a service I love), I have only ever heard this sung in the 1662 original BCP version - the modern equivalents used only in midweek daily evening prayer services - and so, therefore, the setting of the canticles is almost always according to the BCP translation - which most Anglicans can chant by heart at sung (rather than choral) evensong services.

Hope this is helpful

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Re: Canticles

Post by musicus » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:18 am

That is very helpful, londonchurchman - thank you very much. It would seem that setting the BCP version would be the best course.

(A sidenote: It seems to me that the C of E's continued use of Tudor English recalls the RC debate about a 'sacral language'. Not sure that I could cope with that.)
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Re: Canticles

Post by dmu3tem » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:27 am

Yes, the reply covers most of the points. Some parishes do use Common Worship's Morning and Evening Prayer; although this still seems to be comparatively uncommon, and Cathedrals appear to be exceptionally resistant to it.

Part of the difficulty appears with Sung Morning and Evening Prayer; as there do not appear to be many settings of the Common Worship texts - including Canticles, although I like them very much. There are some cases though of metrical adaptations being set to hymns - rather along the lines of the Alstone-Farrell setting in Laudate. I myself found it quite a good exercise to prepare a metrical text and compose a setting for it. The point in my case was the need to persuade a congregation (without a choir or cantor) to sing a modern canticle text, and it seemed easier to do this using a hymn format rather than going through the palaver of preparing and teaching them to sing some sort of Anglican Chant.
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Re: Canticles

Post by Gwyn » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:47 am

Most Church in Wales parishes us the C in W green book which contains revised forms of Matins and Evensong. The canticles are as per BCP (1662) but, in the Magnificat the word 'helped' has been substituted in place of 'holpen'. The pointing has been changed somewhat too. As regards choral settings, the BCP wording is adhered to.

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Re: Canticles

Post by musicus » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:51 pm

Thanks everyone. I am now well underway with the Magnificat - using the BCP text.
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Re: Canticles

Post by musicus » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:13 pm

I have now completed the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis. One final question: are these Book of Common Prayer texts in copyright? I had thought that with them being from 1662 I would be safe, but I took them from Common Worship and I'm not sure about that.
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Re: Canticles

Post by JW » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:37 am

Surely it is only the printed reproductions of the texts that are in copyright, not the texts themselves? Unless you use the same reproduction is there an issue?

If you want belt and braces, http://www.gutenberg.org/ has a BCP by the Episcopal Church in Scotland. My reading of their T&C's suggests that there is no copyright on their books. So if you take the canticles from that edition surely there's no problem.
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Re: Canticles

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:07 pm

I think you may find the BCP texts, while technically long out of copyright, are still "owned".

This site, http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/book-of-common-prayer.aspx, which reproduces BCP texts, contains the following note:

Text from The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, is reproduced by permission of the Crown's Patentee, Cambridge University Press.


And the text of the Magnificat given here is as follows, including "holpen":

Magnificat

Luke 1

My soul doth magnify the Lord :
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded :
the lowliness of his hand-maiden.

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 be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

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Re: Canticles

Post by musicus » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Thank you, JW and SC. As I suspected, the legal situation is ambiguous, but I know how to proceed now.
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