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Quatre motets pour le temps de Nol

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

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


A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey
Evensong Live 2015
Studio Master: KGS0011Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Poulenc: Gloria & Motets
Poulenc: Gloria & other sacred music
CSCD506Download only
Poulenc: Mass & Motets
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


No 1: O magnum mysterium
Track 12 on CDA67623 [3'15]
Track 2 on CDA67716 [3'11]
Track 6 on CDH55448 [3'19]
Track 13 on NOEL1 [3'19] Super-budget price sampler Download only
Track 15 on CSCD506 [3'18] Download only
Track 10 on SIGCD257 [3'37] Download only
Track 4 on SIGCD291 [2'57] Download only
Track 6 on KGS0011 [2'51] Download only
No 2: Quem vidistis pastores dicite
Track 13 on CDA67623 [2'21]
Track 3 on CDA67716 [2'30]
Track 7 on CDH55448 [2'56]
Track 16 on CSCD506 [2'10] Download only
Track 7 on KGS0011 [2'40] Download only
No 3: Videntes stellam
Track 14 on CDA67623 [2'31]
Track 4 on CDA67716 [2'53]
Track 8 on CDH55448 [3'02]
Track 17 on CSCD506 [2'38] Download only
Track 12 on SIGCD291 [2'51] Download only
Track 8 on KGS0011 [2'38] Download only
No 4: Hodie Christus natus est
Track 15 on CDA67623 [1'59]
Track 5 on CDA67716 [2'32]
Track 9 on CDH55448 [2'21]
Track 18 on CSCD506 [2'00] Download only
Track 9 on KGS0011 [2'24] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA67623 track 14

Videntes stellam
Recording date
18 April 2007
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Poulenc: Gloria & Motets (CDA67623)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: March 2008
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