Ellen Andrea Wang Composes Virgin Mary Inspired Piece Magnificat

The Women’s Choral Society of the University of Oslo (KSS) under the direction of conductor Marit Tøndel Bodsberg Weyde has established itself over the course of many years as one of the country’s leading female choirs. On this release the choir takes a new direction in its collaboration with two of Norway’s most trendsetting jazz musicians.

Magnificat is a choral work written and composed by double bassist Ellen Andrea Wang. With it, Wang makes her debut as choir composer, appearing on the album both as vocalist and bassist. The texts are taken from the Gospel of Luke and Catholic Church liturgy and describe Mary’s powerful feelings knowing she will give birth to a child.

Wang writes: “In the course of music history there has been a long line of composers who have set the Song of Mary to music. But remarkably few female composers have written music to this text, despite its portraying the experiences of a woman.”

The work was written and premiered in connection with the 2021 Molde Jazz Festival, with performers including double bassist, female choir (KSS), saxophonist and vocalist. The songs were arranged for choir by Ellen Andrea Wang and Kjetil Bjerkestrand (track 2, 7 and 9). Also contributing to this album is saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg, who is, among other things, initiator and songwriter of the trio GURLS, together with Wang. The group won Spellemannprisen (Norway’s Grammy) in 2018 and 2022.

Magnificat is the choir’s sixth release on the LAWO Classics label.

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