Traditionally, the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent center around Mary, the blessed mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the gospel of Luke, we read that Mary sang a song of great joy (the Magnificat) which has been set to music many thousands of times.
Our choir will be singing a setting of the Magnificat by Domenico Cimarosa. Cimarosa was an Italian opera composer, a contemporary of Mozart, who wrote for all of the important opera houses in Italy (Rome, Naples, Florence). Cimarosa's Magnificat may have been written during a time when he lived in St. Petersburg, writing for the court of the Empress Catherine II. This setting of the Magnificat is not well-known, but deserves to be performed more frequently.
We can only imagine Mary's great joy at the mystery and holiness of her pregnancy. But we can put on eighteenth-century ears, close our eyes, and be uplifted once again.