Reviews

Magnificat (2009)

“En un temps lent, el Magnificat, Op.79, d’Andrew Schultz, expressa amb línies vocals molt suaus aquelles estones d’inquietud que aquella dona jove, després de rebre la visita de l’àngel, deuria sentir pregonament. La música evoluciona completament equilibrada malgrat la tensió prèvia al moment que les veus s’acabaran esvaint en un silenci enigmàtic.Schultz escriu a la capçalera de la seva partitura una frase commovedora de l’escriptora americana Emily Bronte: «No coward soul is mine».”

“In a slow tempo, the Magnificat, op. 79, by Andrew Schultz, expresses with extremely soft vocal lines those moments of unease that the young woman, after receiving the visit of the Angel, must feel deeply. The music evolves in a completely balanced way despite the earlier uncertainty at the time that the voices were fading in from an enigmatic silence. Schultz writes in the header of the score, a poignant phrase of the American writer Emily Bronte: ‘No coward soul is mine.’” [Marçal Borotau, “Suplement de discos,” Sonograma Magazine, 29 March 2014]


“Schultz has entered the mind of the virgin, imagining her changing emotions, even a touch of trepidation, ending in a restrained shout of triumph that she of all women has been chosen for this mystical honour. His Magnificat is a beautiful piece, beautifully sung. It would sit well beside the Bach setting in live performance.” [Elizabeth Silsbury, “Foundations,” The Music Trust, 1 February 2016.]


Magnificat, Opus 79 (2009) begins hesitantly with the plainsong-like melody unfolding from the bare interval of a fourth like the petals of a flower. Once in bloom, however, the parts fall away again and the music returns to the purity of single lines. Despite the delicacy of the writing and the softness of the singing, there is a sense of quiet determination which echoes the epigram that Schultz has inscribed at the head of the score: “No coward soul is mine” (Emily Brontë, Last Lines). Schultz’s Mary may be small, but she has strength and courage as she faces a future beyond her imagining. Schultz takes a different approach in the closing moments of this work. Time seems to slow down or even come to a halt as single vocal lines arch out over the stillness; the tower of bare open fifths on which the music finally comes to rest is balanced not on the tonic but on the fifth of the chord, leaving us suspended as the voices fade to silence.” [Debra Shearer-Dirié, “Composers of Today’s Australian Choral Landscape,” International Choral Magazine, Vol. 43, No. 8, April 2024.]