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MacMillan, James: The Strathclyde Motets - The Canticle of Zachariah (2007) 3'
for SATB choir a cappella

Music Text

Luke I: 68-79 (E)

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

St Columba's Maryhill, Glasgow
Strathclyde University Chamber Choir

Repertoire Note

Choral level of difficulty: Level 1 (5 greatest)

In writing the Strathclyde Motets MacMillan set out to write a series of communion motets of only moderate difficulty, which would be of real and lasting use for average church or concert choirs. Aware that much of his choral music to date could be too challenging for average use, these new motets provide a very welcome opportunity for almost any choir of reasonable attainment and ambition to sing some contemporary music of real value.

The effect of The Canticle of Zachariah is that of harmonized chant. The motet needs that kind of rhythmic freedom which is underlined by the composer who writes constantly shifting bar lengths. As often with MacMillan’s choral music there is a single line of melody with words (in the bass part here) accompanied by the ebb and flow of the other voices singing in support. The Doxology is unusually set to unison chant for all voices.

Repertoire note by Paul Spicer

Recommended Recording

Who Are These Angels? New Choral Music
Cappella Nova / Alan Tavener
Linn Records CKD 383

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