Johann Sebastian Bach's Magnificat is a musical setting
of the biblical canticle Magnificat. It is scored for
five vocal parts (two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass),
and a Baroque orchestra including trumpets and timpani.
It is the first major liturgical composition on a Latin
text by Bach.
In 1723, after taking up his post as Thomaskantor in
Leipzig, Bach set the text of the Magnificat in a
twelve movement composition in the key of E-flat major.
For a performance at Christmas he inserted four hymns
(laudes) related to that feast. This version, including
the Christmas interpolations, was given the number BWV
243a in the catalogue of Bach's works.
For the feast of Visitation of 1733, Bach produced a
new version of his Latin Magnificat, without the
Christmas hymns: instrumentation of some movements was
altered or expanded, and the key changed from E-flat
major to D major, for performance reasons of the
trumpet parts. This version of Bach's Magnificat is
known as BWV 243. After publication of both versions in
the 19th century, the second became the standard for
performance. It is one of Bach's most popular vocal
Bach's Magnificat consists of eleven movements for the
text of Luke 1:46–55, concluded by a twelfth doxology
movement. Each verse of the canticle is assigned to one
movement, except verse 48 (the third verse of the
Magnificat) which begins with a soprano solo in the
third movement and is concluded by the chorus in the
fourth movement. The traditional division of the
Magnificat, as used by composers since the late Middle
Ages, was in 12 verses: it differs from Bach's 12
movements in that Luke's verse 48 is one verse in the
traditional division, while the doxology is divided in
I created this arrangement of the "Deposuit potentes de
sede et exaltavit humiles" (He has brought down the
powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly)
for String Trio (Violin, Viola & Cello).