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Track(s) taken from CDA67522

Hodie Christus natus est, SWV456

author of text
after Luke 2: 14

Ian Aitkenhead (countertenor), Nicholas Mulroy (tenor), Westminster Cathedral Choir, Matthew Martin (organ), Martin Baker (conductor)
Recording details: March 2005
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2006
Total duration: 5 minutes 38 seconds

Cover artwork: Adoration of the Shepherds (detail) by Angelo Bronzino (1503-1572)
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'With the glorious acoustical space of Westminster Cathedral, this disc has inbuilt atmosphere, enhanced by organ improvisations and by the choir's fluent singing of plainchant Latin antiphons and psalms as they might be heard at Christmas Eve Vespers … the service has as its spiritual climax the five-part Magnificat by Tallis, sung with invigorating thrust and guts that contrast favourably with more guarded approaches to the Renaissance masters' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Christmas comes with a combination of simplicity and stunning excitement in this recording' (American Record Guide)

'The real value of this disc is the palpable sense of atmosphere in the listening. The service unfolds in the acoustic space of the great Byzantine structure, almost making the listener present … this disc is quite unique, a hugely successful evocation of Catholic cathedral worship at its best' (Fanfare, USA)

'Westminster Cathedral Choir and Martin Baker give us a rich evocation of the complete service of Vespers at the Cathedral as it is currently sung. If you close your eyes you can almost smell the incense' (MusicWeb International)

'This issue presents a purified version of the Office of Vespers as it might be heard on Christmas Eve in Westminster Cathedral, a monument steeped in art, music and spirituality. The precious thread which runs throughout the whole liturgy on this disc is the 'chant' giving the office a rhythm rich in natural beauty as well as a clarity of text and expressive language. All this uplifting experience is complimented by motets and canticles by Tallis, Victoria and Schutz with Langlais' mighty 'Fête' for organ concluding this riveting service. The Cathedral Choir under Martin Baker sing their hearts out, and while intonation and ensemble are impeccable, it is the authentic love of this music that they so successfully bequeath to the listener' (Classical.net)
The German composer Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672), the son of an innkeeper, was lucky enough to be talent-spotted by the Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel who heard him sing as a young man and asked to be entrusted with his education. Moritz must have been discerning, for Schütz was to become the pre-eminent composer of the seventeenth century, saturated with Italian ideas and achieving a wonderful marriage between the German language and musical imagination, both tasteful and clear. The brilliant and joyful Hodie Christus natus est alternates triple-time dancing Alleluias with duple-time sections to proclaim the birth of Christ. The piece as a whole is a riot of energy and rhythm with great juxtapositions between slow and fast pulses and high and low voices, all of the hallmarks of the Baroque period towards which Schütz clearly points the way.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2006

Fils d’aubergiste, Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672) était adolescent quand il eut la chance de voir son talent repéré par le landgrave Moritz de Hessen-Kassel—après l’avoir entendu chanter, ce dernier avait demandé que l’éducation du jeune homme lui fût confiée. Moritz s’avéra sagace car Schütz devint le compositeur prééminent du XVIIe siècle: gorgé d’idées italiennes, il réussit un merveilleux mariage entre langue allemande et inventivité musicale, tout en élégance et en clarté. Pour proclamer la naissance du Christ, Hodie Christus natus est fait alterner de dansants alléluias ternaires et des sections binaires. Dans l’ensemble, cette pièce est une débauche d’énergie et de rythme, dotée de grandes juxtapositions où se côtoient tempos lents et rapides, voix aiguës et graves—autant de signes de l’ère baroque dont Schütz montre clairement la voie.

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew Carwood © 2006
Français: Hypérion

Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672) war Sohn eines Gastwirts und hatte Glück, dass sein Talent frühzeitig vom Landgrafen Moritz von Hessen-Kassel bemerkt wurde, als jener ihn singen hörte. Der Landgraf bat daraufhin, sich um die Ausbildung des Knaben kümmern zu dürfen. Moritz muss ein gutes Gespür besessen haben, denn Schütz sollte sich zum berühmtesten Komponisten des 17. Jahrhunderts entwickeln. Schütz’ geschmackvolle und klare Musik ist voller italienischer Ideen und stellt eine wunderbare Verbindung zwischen der deutschen Musiksprache und musikalischem Einfallsreichtum dar. In Hodie Christus natus est wechseln sich tanzende Allelujas im Dreiertakt mit Abschnitten im Zweiertakt einander ab, die die Geburt Christi verkündigen. Das Stück ist insgesamt lebhafter Ausdruck von Energie und Rhythmus und zeichnet sich durch deutliche Kontraste zwischen langsamen und schnellen Pulsen sowie hohen und tiefen Stimmen aus—alles Kennzeichen des Barocks, für den Schütz eindeutig den Weg bahnte.

aus dem Begleittext von Andrew Carwood © 2006
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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