The Den Mother’s Christmas Music Sampler, Vol. 8
(Click here to listen to today’s music in a separate window/tab while you read about it below.)
We’re in the final days of the Christmas season, and lest we lose sight of what Christmas really is, today’s sampler features a collection of Hodies, Glorias, and Alleluias. Hodie is Latin for “today,” as in “Hodie Christus natus est” (Today Christ is born). Gloria is Latin for “glory,” as in “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Glory to God in the highest). Alleluia is a variant of Hallelujah, which is Hebrew for “praise God” (as in the Alleluia sung before the Gospel reading in Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant liturgies).
- The opening lines of “Procession” from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols are, “Hodie Christus natus est, hodie Salvator apparuit” — Today Christ is born, today the Savior appears. Britten wrote most of Ceremony of Carols in a modernized form of Middle English, but “Procession” is in Latin. Christ Church Cathedral Choir did this recording.
- Dutch Renaissance composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” performed here by St. Michael’s Choir School, uses the same traditional text as Britten’s “Procession.”
- Here is a 21st century “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” written by Francis Patrick O’Brien and Kelly Dobbs Mickus. I don’t know which choir recorded it. We did this at lessons and carols preceding midnight mass a year ago.
- “Gloria in excelsis,” performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, is from Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in D major (RV 589) as well as a longer work in which the chorus is preceded by an aria.
- “Gloria in excelsis Deo” is the first movement of a cantata of the same name (BWV 191) by J.S. Bach. This recording is by St. Michael’s Choir School, from the same album as the “Hodie” above.
- Next is a more contemporary “Gloria” by Randol Alan Bass and performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart conducting. This piece is unique among the songs in today’s sampler in that the composer is still alive (and a relatively young 57 years old).
- 20th century composer Peter Wishart wrote “Alleluya, a New Work Is Come on Hand,” but I don’t know who did this recording.
- I’ll end with “Alleluja! Freuet Euch, Ihr Christen alle Achtstimmige” by 17th century German composer Andreas Hammerschmidt (performer, yet again, unknown). According to Google translator, the title translates to “Alleluia! Rejoice, ye Christians all eight-voice,” suggesting that I might be missing a diacritical somewhere.
Check back on Wednesday for the final, Epiphany-themed Christmas music sampler.