Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century - cover image


George Corbett

Published On





  • English

Print Length

394 pages (xvi+378)


Paperback178 x 27 x 254 mm(7" x 1.08" x 10")
Hardback178 x 30 x 254 mm(7" x 1.19" x 10")


Paperback2034g (71.75oz)
Hardback2521g (88.93oz)



OCLC Number





  • HRCS
  • AVX
  • AVA


  • MUS048010
  • MUS051000
  • MUS007000


  • ML3921.2


  • Judeo-Christian tradition
  • contemporary culture
  • sacred music
  • music composition
  • music performance
  • appreciation of music
  • Religious music
  • God
  • Old Testaments
  • New Testaments
  • Scriptural reflection
  • musical practice


Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century

Our contemporary culture is communicating ever-increasingly through the visual, through film, and through music. This makes it ever more urgent for theologians to explore the resources of art for enriching our understanding and experience of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Annunciations: Sacred Music for the twenty-First Century, edited by George Corbett, answers this need, evaluating the relationship between the sacred and the composition, performance, and appreciation of music.

Through the theme of ‘annunciations’, this volume interrogates how, when, why, through and to whom God communicates in the Old and New Testaments. In doing so, it tackles the intimate relationship between Scriptural reflection and musical practice in the past, its present condition, and what the future might hold.

Annunciations comprises three parts. Part I sets out flexible theological and compositional frameworks for a constructive relationship between the sacred and music. Part II presents the reflections of theologians and composers involved in collaborating on new pieces of sacred choral music, alongside the six new scores and links to the recordings. Part III considers the reality of programming and performing sacred works today.

This volume provides an indispensable resource for scholars and artists working at the interface between theology and the arts, and for those involved in sacred music. However, it will also be of interest to anyone concerned with the ways in which the Divine communicates through word and artistry to humanity.


This fascinating volume draws together contributions from a wide range of theologians and practising musicians to consider the ways that theology and belief can interact with the practice and appreciation of music, to mutually invigorating effect. It is an impressive and exciting achievement and I am sure it will be read eagerly by all those for whom music can illuminate the sacred.

Dr Jeremy Thurlow

University of Cambridge


This book is a pioneering venture in a number of ways […] With a splendid combination of ambition, invention and discernment, six composers (from almost a hundred who applied) were chosen to work with ITIA colleagues in pairs producing six new choral settings of ‘annunciations’ in the Hebrew Bible […] These are included in the central section of the book, following on from Part 1, a set of reflective essays on ‘Compositional and Theological Perspectives’ […] Each of the collaborations is noteworthy, with the ‘theologians’ appreciating the insights of the composers, and the latter the resources of the theologians — one acting as catalyst for the other, mutually transforming perception. […] It is now recognized that ‘reception exegesis’, following on from ‘reception history’ has in effect long been part of Christian tradition in e.g. at least the forms of liturgy, preaching, prayers. It would seem to be the case that the contributors to Annunciations have both attended to the kinds of exegesis current in textual and historical analysis, but have also engaged with one another in trust, appreciation, courage, and affirmation, between them exemplifying the attentive empathy which makes it possible to listen and attend with great care to insights from whatever quarter — a manner of interaction with implications for theology well beyond the present project of TheoArtistry.

Ann Loades

"GEORGE CORBETT, ed. Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-first Century". Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal (2399-8989), vol. 3, no. 4, 2019.

Full Review


  • Anselm McDonnell


(pp. 115–126)
  • Anselm McDonnell
  • Marian Kelsey
  • Dominic de Grande
  • Dominic de Grande
  • Kerensa Briggs

'Exodus III'

(pp. 177–188)
  • Kerensa Briggs
  • Seán Doherty

'God Calls Samuel'

(pp. 207–216)
  • Seán Doherty
  • Lisa Robertson
  • Lisa Robertson
  • Stuart Beatch
  • Stuart Beatch
  • Jonathan Arnold


(pp. 1–6)
  • George Corbett


George Corbett

Senior Lecturer in Theology and the Arts at University of St Andrews