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Christchurch Vespers (Vespers for the Feast of Pentecost)

for solo soprano, choir, and orchestra (including positive organ and tambura)

Year:  2012   ·  Duration:  45m
Instrumentation:  2 (1.p) 2( 2(1.bcl) 2 | 2 3 2 0 | timp/gong/vibraphone | tambura | hp | positive organ | solo soprano | choir (SATB with divisi) | strings

Year:  2012
Duration:  45m
Instrumentation  2 (1.p) 2( 2(1.bcl) 2 ...

Composer:   Andrew Perkins

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Audio

Sample: 0'20" – 2'00" from track 7 ('Magnificat')

See details ➔
Sample Score

Sample: first page of each section

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The initial concept for this work was inspired by the ethos contained within the Five Sacred Heart Goals the sisters, students and teachers live and learn by at Baradene College where Andrew Perkins was HOD music from 2005 until 2008.

He also directed the Auckland Catholic Schola who performs predominantly plainchant and Renaissance Mass settings and motets within the context of the Mass, at St Johns church, Parnell.

The composer decided to encapsulate these experiences in a work that would celebrate both, choosing to set seven texts from the Vespers for Pentecost liturgy. The Feast of Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of Christianity. The disciples during this time, without Jesus Christ, were alone and nervous – their job was to take the then new religion of Christianity to the world. The “Loquebantur” text describes the disciples being empowered by the Holy Spirit, enabling them to be understood by people of all nationalities.

During composing the work, the Christchurch earthquakes occurred. The title, "Christchurch Vespers", was chosen as an acknowledgement of the fortitude and determination of the people of Christchurch as they faced rebuilding their homes and city, a fortitude and determination the disciples must have had, to take Christianity to the world.

The choral music was created to correspond with the composer’s idea of what an ancient pre-Christian chorus and accompanying instrumental groups could have sounded like. To do this, Perkins made a study of ancient Indian, Hebrew, Middle Eastern music. As a result, the choral and instrumental writing in the Vespers has an almost primeval quality, full of dramatic contrasts and energy.

Consequently, this composition can be interpreted and appreciated in different ways, for its ancient roots, its dramatic quality and energy, or at a spiritual level – the work invites the listener to contemplate the similarities of belief systems, not the differences.

Contents note

1. Deus in Adjutorium (female voices, solo soprano, and tanpura)
2. Dixit Dominus (full choir and orchestra)
3. Laudate Pueri (full choir, solo soprano, strings, harp and vibraphone)
4. Loquebantur (full choir and orchestra)
5. Lucis Creator Optime (full choir and tanpura)
6. Announcement of the Eternal Gospel (full choir, solo soprano, strings, flute, harp and vibraphone)
7. Magnificat (full choir, solo soprano, orchestra)

Text note

  1. Deus in Adjutorium – Introductory versicle for Vespers (Psalm 70:1)
  2. Dixit Dominus – Psalm 110
  3. Laudate Pueri – Psalm 113
  4. Loquebantur – Antiphon at Second Vespers for Pentecost
  5. Lucis Creator Optime – Hymn at Vespers
  6. Announcement of the Eternal Gospel – Revelation 14:6-7
  7. Magnificat – Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55)