The Annunciation - Symphony Narrative
The first movement imagines the Angel Gabriel truly excited to receive this commission from God. Rather than being bogged down with gravitas, the Angel Gabriel is thrilled to have this great calling and mission and can't wait to bring the good news to Mary.
The Angel came to Mary, "Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you."
Mary was deeply troubled by the Angel's words and she wondered what they meant.
The Angel said, "Don't be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him, Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a King, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end."
The melodic phrases in this movement reflect the dialogue between them.
Troubled by the Angel's words, Mary asks Gabriel: "How can this be? I am a virgin."
Gabriel answers, "The Holy Child will be called the Son of God. Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said she cannot have a child because of her age, but through the power of God, she is already six months pregnant.
"Mary answers, " I am the Lord's servant. May it happen to me as you have said."
On her way to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist, Mary's confusion combines with foreboding as she has a vision of her son, carrying a heavy cross and hearing the nails being hammered into his body. The vision ends with Mary completely at peace.
Mary is comforted by the presence of Elisabeth and sings her beautiful Magnificat:
My soul sings out the greatness of the Lord And the power of His Infinite Love. For my spirit rejoices in God My Savior
He looks at me and sees my lowliness With His kindness and His Merciful Love. For His goodness will always follow me Through all eternity.
So the Mighty and powerful will not stand. Blind men rich in arrogance will fall away sad and empty. But the poor and the hungry will be filled with good things. And the lowly, meek, and kindly will know God's merciful love. He has come for freedom and for peace For Israel and the entire world. And His love will last for all time.
My soul sings out the greatness of the Lord, The mercy of the Lord, The goodness of the Lord, The Lord, my Lord.
Gabriel returns to Heaven and announces Mary's answer three times. The entire assembly dances and celebrates not only Mary's answer, but the coming of the birth of Jesus. It ends as if an earthquake of enormous proportion is coming to change the course of history.