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Hymns of Advent - The Magnificat


WORLD Radio - Hymns of Advent - The Magnificat

Mary’s song of praise, set to music

Sarah Hina/Creative Commons

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Last week we began our annual Advent music series with O Come O Come Emmanuel. The song was written about 15 - hundred years ago. And its author’s identity is lost to time. But not so for this week’s much older song. We even know who first sang it.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And just a reminder that we’ve created a Spotify Playlist again this year with all of Bonnie’s selections. We’ve put the link in today’s transcript at wng.org/podcasts. Here’s Bonnie Pritchett.

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: Two thousand years ago, in a little town in Israel, a teenage girl named Mary was told by an angel she would bear a son. And the father would be, not Joseph her betrothed, but God Himself.


The angel also said that her much older, childless, yet godly cousin, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant. A visit between the two women confirmed the angel’s message.

Overwhelmed by God’s miracles and mercies, Mary began to sing.

Luke chapter 1 records her song. And for 2000 years musicians and singers have offered their interpretations of the Magnificat, or Mary’s Song. This 2012 version by the band Koine, offers a simple arrangement of Mary’s praise.

WOMAN SINGING: My soul now glorifies, my spirit sings in God my savior, for he is mindful of the humble state of his servant from now on all generations will call me blessed…

And then there’s Bach.


In 1723 Johann Sebastian Bach was serving in St Thomas’s Church in Leipzig when he composed The Magnificat in D for Christmas vespers. Modern recordings are often pair it with Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, a telling of the shepherds’ angelic encounter and the Messiah’s redeeming work.

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields recorded this album in 1991.


The Magnificat reveals the faith and humility of a young girl. Perhaps her trust in God was rooted in her knowledge of his word.

WOMAN SINGING: For he who is mighty has done great things for me…

The musical collective Rain for Roots produces what they call “singable scripture” especially for kids and produced this version in 2015.

CHILD’S VOICE: His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He embraced his chosen child Israel. He remembered and piled on the mercies. He piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised beginning with Abraham and right up until now.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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