Two Magnificats for Mary

    On this feast of the Visitation, the last day of May, here are two musical renditions of the Magnificat, which Mary says – sings? – in today’s Gospel:

    The first, J.S. Bach’s magnificent rendering of Our Lady’s song of praise, published in 1733, likely for this very feast, based on an earlier version in 1723. Lutherans had, and still have, a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, even if their Mariology may now be askew. This beautiful piece is timeless, transcending categories, and is one of the composer’s most performed choral works. No wonder, yet wonder:

    And here is a version of the Magnificat by the incomparable Palestrina composed two centuries earlier, in the midst of the Catholic Restoration in response to the Protest revolt in the 16th century.  A different era and time, brilliant and exquisite. The final Amen…well, take a listen: