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Track(s) taken from CDH55448

Quatre motets pour le temps de NoŽl

composer
1952
author of text
Nos 1 & 2: Matins Reponsories for Christmas Day; No 3: Antiphon for the Octave of the Epiphany; No 4: Vespers Antiphon on Christmas Day

Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Recording details: September 1993
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1994
Total duration: 11 minutes 38 seconds

Cover artwork: Front photograph by Malcolm Crowthers
 
1
O magnum mysterium  [3'19]
2
Quem vidistis pastores dicite  [2'56]
3
Videntes stellam  [3'02]
4
Hodie Christus natus est  [2'21]

Other recordings available for download

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
These exquisite miniatures paint four colourful scenes from the nativity story. O magnum mysterium is the most profound: slow and (by Poulenc’s standards) harmonically austere, it grows in intensity toward the final repetition of the main text, via an intimate verse in praise of the Virgin. The text of Quem vidistis makes two demands of the shepherds, set in contrasting ways by Poulenc. ‘Who did you see?’ is a cantilène accompanied by searching quaver movement; by contrast, the imperative ‘Speak … and proclaim the birth of Christ’ is a trumpet blast worthy of the annunciatory angels themselves. The crystalline refrain of Videntes stellam evokes a placid and (of course) starlit night, through which the Magi travel with burgeoning excitement; this reaches a rich climax as they enter the stable and present their gifts; outside the star shines on, undisturbed. In the final motet, Hodie Christus natus est, the faithful make their response to the news with unbuttoned exuberance: ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ accompanied by popping champagne corks.

from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008

Other albums featuring this work

A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey
CDA67716
Poulenc: Gloria & motets
CDA67623
Voces 8 Christmas
Studio Master: SIGCD291Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
A Choral Christmas
Studio Master: SIGCD257Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Christmas through the ages
NOEL1Super-budget price sampler — Download only
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