Category:   SSAA CHOIRS
Composer:   William Mathias
Arranger:   
Publisher:   Oxford University Press
Edition:   W102
Voicing:   SSAA
Setting:   Accompanied

Reviewer:   

Marie Spar Dymit
White Bear Lake High School – South Campus 2002
R&R Chair SSAA Choirs

William Mathias’ setting of the text “Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae” opens with an unmetered chant at the octave, with occasional piano chords as the accompaniment. It then moves into a setting of the Ave Maria text, set in four parts with exact parallel movement throughout. The difficulty in this complex piece lies in the dissonant harmonization of the Ave Maria, since it is sung in parallel movement, and three of the four voices are whole steps apart. Mathias then continues with two more chants at the octave, and two more verses of Ave Maria, again set with parallel chords, but one step lower each time. This haunting anthem ends with the “ora pro nobis” portion of the prayer. An extremely difficult piece, but very rewarding.