John Rutter's seven-movement setting of the "Magnificat," Virgin Mary's hymn of praise, takes listeners on a musical journey.
"There's a combination of really rhythmic and exuberant music in some movements, and then just lush, lyrical, beautiful, melodic lines in the others," said Agnes French, conductor of the Cantori Choral Ensemble.
Rutter's "Magnificat" is the centerpiece of the ensemble's annual Christmas concert, which the group will perform in Williamsburg on Dec. 4 and Kilmarnock on Dec. 11.
An small auditioned ensemble, Cantori's repertoire is largely a cappella, but for the "Magnificat," French said accompaniment includes piano, double bass, French horn, timpani and percussion.
The concert's two opening pieces, though, are a cappella works, both building to the "Magnificat." Joshua Shank's setting of "Gabriel's Message" layers a multitude of vocal parts, French said, while Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria" is one of the most well-known settings of the text.
"It's just absolutely gorgeous music," French said.
Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.
Want to go?
7:30 p.m., Dec. 4 - Walnut Hills Baptist Church, 1014 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg
7:30 p.m., Dec. 11 - Grace Episcopal Church, 303 South Main St., Kilmarnock
Admission is free, donations invited.