Oliver Tarney: Magnificat


Performed by Serafine Chamber Choir & Sinfonia and conducted by Manvinder Rattan.


About this release

In this newly-commissioned work in 12 movements, Tarney has interpolated the conventional text from the Gospel of Luke with apocryphal and old Testament texts as well as extracts from the Book of Maryam from the Qur’an. The fuller picture this paints completely changes the way we think of this important bible story and Tarney sets the whole with memorably exquisite musical colours which bow to no one. In a world riven with division and violence based on religious lines, this piece reminds us of what we could have in common if we looked a little harder.

Commissioned Programme Note

Mary was about 16. As many traditional images show, she may have been working at her spinning wheel, minding her own business, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her the news that she was with child. Not only that, but her son was God, and would grow up to be the saviour of mankind. I can’t help but feel that ecstatic jubilation was probably not her first response. Many settings of the Magnificat present the text as though Mary is saying it there and then, as an outpouring of joy and wonder, which it doubtless is, with jubilant brass and clattering timpani. I, however, have opted for a different direction to this story: one in which we hear the words of the Magnificat as a considered, personal reflection, rather than a spontaneous outpouring, as Mary replays that moment in her mind, but now in the light of the events that followed—many of them full of uncertainty, and pain.Read more

About the artists

Serafine Chamber Choir & Sinfonia

Convivium Records Artist

Serafine Chamber Choir is made up of some of the most talented young conductors in the country, all of whom have been taught by director, Manvinder Rattan. Serafine is made up of professional singers, teachers and students, all of whom share a passion for high quality music making as well as their own love of conducting.

The Sinfonia is made up of both seasoned and young professional players, along with students from the London conservatoires.

Serafine enjoyed an illustrious debut performance in July 2012 at the Grosvenor Chapel, London, performing a programme of Bach and Handel in the company of Lucy Crowe, Tim Mead, Robert Murray and Matthew Rose and players from the OAE and the Academy of Ancient Music, raising over £2000 for the charity Songbound.

Manvinder Rattan

Manvinder RattanManvinder Rattan was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to the United Kingdom with his family when he was two. He has lived most of his life in Woodford Green in Essex where he went to Churchfields Junior School and then Ilford County High School for Boys.

Manvinder’s family was not particularly musical but excellent music teachers cannot fail to inspire.  In this case, Francis Roads and Ian Gorman.
Manvinder started playing the cornet at the age of seven, moving on to French Horn when he was 11. He still enjoys playing the recorder and can’t remember a time when he wasn’t singing.


Manvinder read French and History at The College of Ripon & York St John where he was a Choral Scholar. As part of the scholarship, the College paid for Manvinder to attend his first conducting course with Sing for Pleasure; his life has not been the same since. Under the inspirational leadership of James Wild, the course was to have a profound impact on Manvinder’s life. Sing for Pleasure delivers very high quality teaching giving participants a strong foundation of key conducting skills on which they build according to their own abilities.

But music wasn’t his intended career and Manvinder joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee in 1989 in Sheffield. There. he sang with the Cathedral choir before moving to Portsmouth where he also sang with the Cathedral Choir. A move to John Lewis Watford brought his first contact with the John Lewis Partnership Music Society, first as as performer and then, from 1995, as its Musical Director, initially in addition to his role as a selling manager, and from 2006, as his primary role in the company.

In 1994, its single choir gave two performances a year; now with over eight choirs around the country, activity has grown hugely. Manvinder established The Cavendish Singers, an award-winning chamber choir, and The Cavendish Ensemble, voted one of London’s top five amateur orchestras in 2009 by Classical Music magazine. Find out more about the John Lewis Partnership Music Society here.


Manvinder Rattan enjoys delivering singing workshops around the country; seeing people sing when they always believed they couldn’t is something he finds very fulfilling. He has been known to have a roomful of self-perceived non-singers singing in four part harmony within 30 minutes.

Having completed his training as a choral conductor with Sing for Pleasure, Manvinder joined the charity’s tutor team and assumed the role of Head of Conductor Training in 2006. The courses are accredited by the ABRSM: Sing for Pleasure last year taught over 250 conductors whose feedback on the standard of tuition was rated at 95% Good to Excellent. Sing for Pleasure also trains orchestral conductors at the start of their orchestral conducting training.

Manvinder studied choral directing with James Wild, John Coates, Jill Henderson-Wild, Peter Erdei and Laszlo Heltay. He studied orchestral directing with Colin Metters, John Farrer and Neil Thompson.

Manvinder has performed and conducted in most West European countries: Rome, Venice, Florence, Athens, Lyon and Barcelona are some of the cities where Manvinder has performed with one or more of his ensembles.

Visit website: Manvinder Rattan

  • Magnificat: I. Magnificat - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: II. Et exultavit - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: III. Quia respexit - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: IV. Ecce enim - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: V. Quia fecit - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: VI. Et misericordia - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: VII. Fecit potentiam - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: VIII. Deposuit - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: IX. Esurientes - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: X. Suscepit Israel - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: XI. Sicut locutus est - Oliver Tarney
  • Magnificat: XII. Gloria Patri - Oliver Tarney
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Catalogue number: CR030

Choir Serafine Chamber Choir
Orchestra Serafine Sinfonia
Conductor Manvinder Rattan

Photography Various
Engineering Adaq Khan
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Andrew King
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded 23, 24 May, 2015
Venue The Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, London
Total Duration 55 mins

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