Hyperion Records

O magnum mysterium
collection of motets for 5, 6 and 7 voices published in Rome, 1569
author of text
adapted from the Third and Fourth Responsories at Matins, Christmas Day

'Palestrina: Music for Advent & Christmas' (CDA67396)
Palestrina: Music for Advent & Christmas
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Track 11 on CDA67396 [6'45] Archive Service

O magnum mysterium
O magnum mysterium is a motet for the Nativity of Our Lord, which takes its text from the first half of the fourth and third Responsories at Matins on Christmas Day. It included in a collection of motets, for five, six and seven voices, published in Rome in 1569. This exquisite six-part motet conveys superbly the awe and joy of the shepherds at the birth of Christ in a manger. Opening with a series of slow chords announcing the ‘great mystery and wonderful sacrament’, the music proceeds in a mainly homophonic idiom, with differing and well calculated combinations of voices, until it breaks into a lively triple time to represent the ‘chorus of angels praising God’, returning to duple time for a final section of pealing Alleluias; the second half has a similar structure and re-uses some of the material from the first half to very good effect.

from notes by Jon Dixon © 2003

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67396 track 11
Recording date
13 February 2003
Recording venue
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Palestrina: Music for Advent & Christmas (CDA67396)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: September 2003
    Deletion date: October 2013
    Archive Service
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