Loading Events

Bach’s Magnificat

Exactly 300 years ago (1723), Johann Sebastian Bach set to glorious music the well-cherished words of an event from 2000 years ago.The Magnificat is the text, appearing in Luke’s Gospel (vv 46-55), of what Mary says to her cousin Elizabeth, as they share news of their pregnancies — Elizabeth with John the Baptist, and Mary with Jesus. It is a poem of acceptance, of joy and praise: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” The Island Choral Society brings it to life again on December 9 at 7:30 pm, in the superb acoustical warmth of St. Paul’s Church in Downtown Charlottetown.

The piece is a little unusual, in being written for five voices — two soprano parts as well as alto, tenor and bass. There are solos, duets and trios that glow with feeling, along with the rousing choruses. The voices intertwine; it’s as if Bach were weaving a piece of musical cloth. He’d had a challenging competition to get the job as head of music for St. Thomas church in Leipzig; when he finally got the post, it’s clear that with the Magnificat he pulled out all the stops to impress his new employers. Many consider that the work is one of the grandest demonstrations of Bach’s genius. It has been recorded by all the great names in orchestral music, and is a favourite of choirs around the globe. No wonder: it is so uplifting, so joyful … and looking ahead to the birth of Jesus, it is so appropriate for Advent.

The Island Choral Society is the choir which has impressed audiences with other major classics — Vivaldi’s “Gloria” in D, Fauré’s “Requiem”, and Mozart’s “Requiem”. The 30-member SATB group is led by Dr. Margot Rejskind, noted for her leadership of the professional Luminos Ensemble and other vocal groups, as well as her teaching at UPEI. The performance is dramatically enhanced by Dr. Rejskind’s Luminos Chamber Orchestra. The soloists will be soprano Georgia Edwards, mezzo Melissa Lewis, and bass Brodie MacRae. Besides the customary audience sing-along of a selection of traditional carols, the program includes three moving Christmas pieces sung by the choir. What could be more relevant just now than “I Will Light Candles this Christmas …” — candles of hope, courage, peace and love. “Carols of the Night” is a lovely adaptation of “O Holy Night.” The concert will finish with the peaceful joy of everyone, audience and choir together, singing “Silent Night.”

To purchase tickets, visit: IslandChoralSociety.ca or at the door. Info: islandchoralsociety@gmail.com; 902-628-6778


December 9, 2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category


St Paul’s Church
101 Prince St
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4R5 Canada