Magnificat In Blue: A Modern Oratorio in One Act
Listen to "Change" (Elizabeth), the opening track from "Magnificat In Blue" (Copyright 2016, 2017 Detweiler Music, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved. Registered in the U.S. Library of Congress. International Copyright Secured).
“Magnificat In Blue” is an oratorio in one act, based on the Gospel of Luke from the New Testament of the Bible, composed by Scott Detweiler. The intimate work tells the story of The Annunciation of the birth of Jesus (from Angel Gabriel’s visit to Zachariah and then Mary) to Mary’s journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, with the message that she, too, will bear a child. Detweiler sings the part of each of the characters against the backdrop of his original score. It is about 50 (fifty) minutes in duration. The premiere performance was on May 13, 2017 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Encino, California, where SD is a member of the music ministry. It was performed by Mr. Detweiler (on guitar and vocals) and Bill Johnston (on soprano saxophone and clarinet).
“I first set the actual words from the Magnificat (Luke 1:46 – 55) to music. Then I built the piece around it with original lyrics”, explains Detweiler. Wikipedia lists the names of over 200 (two hundred) composers who have composed works based on The Magnificat, including Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. Detweiler adds his name to the list with a score and libretto he hopes will touch and inspire listeners of all ages and of all faiths.
One of the unique aspects of the work, in addition to one person singing the parts of all four characters (Elizabeth, Zechariah, Gabriel and Mary) is that the lyrics tell the story from the perspective of Elizabeth. At the time Mary announces to Elizabeth that Elizabeth will bear a son named John, Elizabeth is beyond her child-bearing years. “My wife Elsa and I have very close friends who had great difficulty having children”, Detweiler says, “and I drew from the experience in supporting them through their struggle that helped me to write the lyrics from her perspective”.
The piece opens with the powerful acapella start to the song , “Change”, sung by Elizabeth (please listen to it at the top of this page). She explains her own change, from being a young bride with the hope of bearing a child for her husband, Zechariah, to the disappointment in her later years, as a childless woman. (History tells us that in this ancient culture, childless couples bore a stigma and were ostracized by those who had children). By the end of the oratorio, after Elizabeth receives the message from Mary and actually feels the kick of her infant son in her womb, she is transformed. Once again she experiences yet another change when she realizes that she has not been forsaken by God. She feels beautiful, valuable and relevant.
“Magnificat In Blue”, is a story of hope, faith and inspiration. In late 2017, Detweiler Records will release a reording of the oratorio in its entirety.