Ordinarily the Visitation would be on 31st May, but it’s transferred this year to Friday 1st June because of Corpus Christi falling on 31st May.
The reading from Zephaniah is a song of joy over God’s salvation and victory.
Psalm 113 is a song of praise to God, particularly noting God’s role as helper of the poor and needy.
Romans 12:9-16 is an instruction on how Christians should behave, including but not limited to loving one another, rejoicing in hope, being patient in suffering, extending hospitality to strangers, and blessing those who persecute us. (I get tired just thinking about it but the good news is I don’t have to do it all on my own strength…)
The reading from Luke is about Mary visiting her sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth immediately recognises that something amazing is happening from the way her own child leaps within her womb. Mary’s reply is well-known to Evensong lovers everywhere, being the text of the Magnificat.
The Magnificat, then, is the obvious music to sing; so I’m going to delve into some lesser-known Magnificats in this post.
Tawnie Olson has a version for Bulgarian Girls Choir and SATB chorus which was commissioned by Karen Clute in honor of strong teenage girls everywhere. The text also includes the Ave Maria, which makes it particularly appropriate. It’s rather long, at 8:30, but I do like it. Listen to an excerpt on Soundcloud.
Sarah Rimkus wrote a Magnificat to go with Arvo Pärt’s Nunc Dimittis as part of a competition, and it’s absolutely stunning: I was in the audience of the concert at which the four finalists had their pieces sung. The recording doesn’t seem to be online yet, but do contact Sarah for a score.