Christmas Music II


  Giotto, Nativity, Cappella Scrovegni, Padua, 1304-06

Christmas Music Galore

A Work in Progress:  Surely More, Never Less

Click to hear the musical composition of your choice.

[NB: Important change here!  Sometimes you might want to listen to a choral piece and follow the text as well but the text, if available, becomes hidden when you click on the music.  To avoid this, right-click on the link leading to the music, and then  left-click on "open in new window." Then minimize the new window so that you can continue to follow the text in the original window. If you continue to make selections this way, you should remember manually to close the "play music" windows that you have opened.  Complicated?  Read this again slowly.

Click to read about Olivier Messiaen, hear his  La Nativité du Seigneur, Les Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus and some of his other music.

Click to read about Giovanni Gabrieli and hear his four Christmas motets.

O Magnum Mysterium is a responsorial chant from the Matins of Christmas. A number of composers have reworked the chant into a contemporaneous setting. The settings by Victoria, Gabrieli, Palestrina, ByrdPoulenc, Harbison, and Lauridsen are particularly notable. Click to read about O Magnum Mysterium and access a number of renditions.

Click to read about Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and listen to some of his Advent and Christmas music.

Click to Read about Michael Praetorius and listen to his Christmas music performed by the Westminster Cathedral Choir, David Hill (conductor), with the Parley of Instruments.

Click to read about Heinrich Schütz and listen to his Die Weihnachts-historien / The Christmas Story, performed by the King's Consort.

Click to read about Arcangelo Corelli and listen to his Christmas Concerto Grosso.

Click to hear Thomas Tallis, O Nata Lux (text), performed by the Umeå Akademiska Kör, Örjan Larsson (conductor).

Click to read about Johann Sebastian Bach and listen to his Weihnachts-Oratorium / Christmas Oratorio. 

Click to read about George Frideric Handel and to listen to his Messiah performed by the SixteenClick to hear and watch the choir of Christ Church, Oxford, perform Unto Us a Child is Born, in St. Jacob's Church, Prague, with an introductory reading by Jeremy Irons.

Click to watch the December 18, 2007, two-hour video presentation of the Messiah from Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, with the Trinity Choir and the Rebel Baroque Orchestra, Owen Burdick (conductor.) Click here for the 2006 performance. Click here first for instructions if you want to follow the text as you watch and listen either performance

Click to read about Hector Berlioz and listen to his L'Enfance du Christ.

Click to read about Francis Poulenc and listen to his four Christmas motets. 

Click to read about Benjamin Britten and hear his A Ceremony of Carols.

Click to read about Olivier Messiaen, hear his La Nativité du Seigneur, Les Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus and some of his other music.

Click to read about In Dulci Jubilo and to hear numerous renditions.

Click to hear dozens of carols sung by the choir of New College, Oxford.

Click for John Rutter: Music at Christmas.

Click to read about "O" Antiphons and to listen to them sung in Latin by the Dominicans of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, and in the German version of Arvo Pärt by Polyphony.

Click to hear and see Libera sing God Rest You Merry, Gentleman and Silent Night.

Gaudete is a 16th-century Latin hymn from the Finnish collection known as the Piae Cantiones.  Click to read about them.  For the lyrics in Latin and English.  Click to hear and see a version by Steeleye Span, les Petits Chanteurs de Laval (Québec), Libera the King's Singers and an enthusiastic Brazilian choir.

To read the text in Latin and English and hear Alleluia, Alleluia: Dies Sanctificatus Illuxit nobis / Alleluia, Alleluia: A Sanctified Day has Shone upon Us sung in Gregorian chant by the Choir of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle (Vienna Imperial Palace Chapel), Josef Schabasser, conducting, first click here and then click on "play track."

And for Jesus Redemptor Omnium / Jesus Redeemer of the Whole World, also first click here and then click on "play track."

And for more Gregorian Chant for All Seasons, by the Choir of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle, click here.

Click here for The Christmas Album of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaughan Meakins, conducting, with the Ambrosian Singers,  the Tring Park Arts Educational School Chamber Choir,
Tiffany GraveElloise Aitkeand Ghislaine Hamilton.

Click to see and hear William Dutton, BBC 2006 Chorister of the Year, sing the solo introduction to O Come, Come Emmanuel. 

Click to see and hear Aled Jones then and now singing O Holy Night.

Click to see and hear Edward Burrowes and the Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, sing Once in David's Royal CityClick for Sam Ledman and the Choir of King's College, Cambridge  in 2004. Click for King's College in 2006.  Click for Luke Freeney with the Choir of Liverpool CathedralClick to see and hear the celebrated choirmaster, Peter Dijkstra, as a youth, with the Roder Jongenskoor in Roden, The Netherlands.

Click to hear William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices and Byrd's Propers for the Nativity as well as two Christmas hymns of anonymous origin, Christe Redemptor Omnium and A Solis Ortus Cardine, performed by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Stephen Darlington, conducting.

Click to hear Christopher Herrick (b. 1942) perform a delightful organ piece by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck Ons is gheboren een kindekijn (A Child is Born to Us). 

Click to read about St. Roman the Melodist and the creation of the Kontakion of the NativityClick to hear and follow the text of the Kontakion of the Nativity.

Click to listen to Christopher Herrick (b. 1942) perform on the Klais organ of the Hallgrimskirkja, Reykavik, Garth Edmundson (1900-71), Toccata, based on Martin Luther (1483-1546), Von Himmel Hoch (From Heaven High I Come).

John Henry Hopkins, Jr., son the first Episcopal bishop of Vermont, wrote We Three Kings from Orient Are.  Listen to it sung on YouTube by the Longines Symphonette and also by Mario Lanza.