169. CFAMC Listening Page – Stephen C. Perks

NOVEMBER 18, 2018
Stephen C. Perks:
Three Canticles
1. Psalm
2. Magnificat
3. Nunc Dimittis
John Cole, conductor
Andrew Carter, organ

MP3 Score

The pdf is for viewing only. Please contact the composer for further use.


Three Canticles for St Mary Magdalene was composed for the choir of the church of St Mary Magdalene (Church of England) in Taunton, Somerset. In the end the choir only sang two of these in Choral Evensongs (the Nunc Dimittis and the Magnificat). This recording was made in 2012 by a local amateur choir, Amici, in the Church of St John the Baptist in Wellington, Somerset. The conductor was John Cole and the organist was Andrew Carter, who, as a result of the original organist who had rehearsed the canticles suddenly being unavailable, was virtually sight reading. The pieces are meant to fit into an ordinary Choral Evensong of the Church of England. I was asked to write the Nunc Dimittis and Magnificat by the church’s music director “as directly as possible,” by which I took to mean get through it concisely, sticking to the words and not going off on musical digressions. Since these canticles were originally written I have incorporated them into an experimental Choral Evensong involving readings, other music both by myself and others in the form of two ancient hymns (involving congregational singing), instrumental interludes, and arranged for a small orchestral brass and percussion ensemble with the addition of organ and piano. This has never been performed.


I believe in the Christian doctrines of Creation, Fall and Redemption: Creation of the universe out of nothing by the Triune God of the Bible. The Fall of man through the transgression of Adam and the subsequent subjection of all his posterity to original sin on account of this. Redemption from sin by the birth, life, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, the incarnate Son of God, the God-Man, through faith alone. I believe in the new creation in Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. I also believe that the Christian faith involves a whole new way of life that applies to all things and that pursuit of this life is what it means to seek the Kingdom of God. Nothing of what it truly means to be a human being is beyond the grace of God in Jesus Christ and the life of faith in him.


I was born in 1956 in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. I became a Christian at the age of 18. I originally intended to go to music college to study violin on a performers course, but in the end, due to a strong sense of calling at the age of 19 shortly before I was due to take up my place at music college, I decided not follow this path and instead pursued Christian ministry work primarily as a writer, conference speaker, and ordained minister of the gospel (though only a small part of my time has been spent in the role of pastor of particular churches). I never gave up composing entirely, but in the past 15 years I have increasingly spent more time on composition. I am now on a long sabbatical during which my aim is to compose an opera. I have written concertos for violin (an early work that needs recomposing), viola and cello, three large scale symphonies, a large-scale symphonic poem (The Sea) and various shorter orchestral, string orchestra and choral pieces. I am married with three adult children and four grandchildren and live in Somerset, England.