A Medieval Christmas

To listen to this show, you must first LOG IN. If you have already logged in, but you are still seeing this message, please SUBSCRIBE or UPGRADE your subscriber level today.

Program: #14-53   Air Date: Dec 29, 2014

NOTE: All of the releases on this program are from recent recordings of material for Christmastide. Keeping the tradition of the Twelve Day celebration, we’ll range from Florence to England to an exclusive service for St. Thomas a Beckett (whose Feast Day is Dec. 29).

I. Aquilonis (Trio Mediaeval). ECM CD246.


Trio Mediaeval - three Scandinavian women whose singing produces "a sound of extraordinary and consoling beauty," says the Boston Globe - offer a collection of polyphony from the medieval to the modern titled after the North Wind, 'Aquilonis'.

On this recording one can sense a reference in the title to the Nordic roots of the singers, as well as the bracing purity of their voices; moreover, the album's repertoire travels from Iceland to Italy, from north to south like the Aquilonis wind. In creatively realising the music of one Saint Thorlak - who died in Iceland just before Christmas 1193 - Trio Mediaeval accompany their vocals with discreetly textural instrumentation. The group has also arranged 12th-century Italian chant and sings 15th-century English carols, with timeless Scandinavian folk melodies in the air, too.

From our contemporary age come pieces by the Swede Anders Jormin (best known as a leading jazz bassist), American William Brooks and Englishman Andrew Smith. Former Hilliard Ensemble tenor John Potter, in his liner notes for 'Aquilonis', aptly describes Trio Mediaeval's ability to "create a synthesis of sound and atmosphere...history and geography blending seamlessly".

The album was recorded, like four of Trio Mediaeval's previous five, at the monastery of St Gerold in the Austrian Alps - in June 2014. It's the first of the trio's discs to feature Berit Opheim, alongside Anna Maria Friman and Linn Andrea Fuglseth.


Vespers reponsory
Ave rex angelorum
Ecce quod natura mutat sua jura
Ave maris stella
Vespers antiphon and psalm I,II,III
Ioseph fili David
Ave regina caelorum
Alleluia: A newë work
Vespers antiphon and psalm IV, V
Fammi cantar l’amor
Gud unde oss her at leve så
Benedicti e llaudati
Special antiphon
Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro
Fryd dig, du Kristi brud
I hamrinum
Vale, dulcis amice


II. Thomas Becket: Martyr and Athlete (Schola Antiqua of Chicago/Michael Alan Anderson). Live recording.


For more information: schola-antiqua.org

Schola Antiqua presents a program of music on the subject of England's legendary martyr, the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket. Upon his death and canonization, Thomas was honored in gestures of cultural expression, including music. Songs for the liturgy were matched by pieces of music for the saint to be used outside the church's walls. Spanning an array of genres, this program of music from the thirteenth century through the fifteenth century recounts the stories and perceptions of Thomas, notably as a martyr and "athlete" (a champion of Jesus), as one song calls him.

Conductus: In Rama sonat gemitus
Antiphon with Magnificat: Opem nobis O Thoma
Motet: Opem nobis O Thoma/Salva Thoma/Pastor caesus
Conductus: Christi Miles
Carol: Clangat tuba
Carol: Letare Cantuaria
Alleluia: Gloria et honore
Sequence: Spe mercedis et coronate
Responsory: Iacet granum
Motete: Thomas gemma Cantuariae/Thomas caesus in Doveria
Conductus: Novus miles


III. Cristo è nato (The Peabody Renaissance Ensemble/Mark Cudek).

For more information: http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/earlymusic/

Cristo è nato ; Regina pretiosa / anonymous (14th century, Florence) --
Bel fiore dança (Faenza Codex, 14th century) --
Gloria'n cielo / anonymous (14th century, Florence) --
Puer natus est / Heinrich Isaac --
Gaude, Maria virgo / Tomás Luis da Victoria --
Salve regina (Gregorian chant) --
Salve regina / Luca Marenzio --
This is the record of John / Orlando Gibbons --
Cradle pavin ; Lullaby galliard / Antony Holborne --
Sweet was the song the virgin sung / anonymous (William Ballet Lutebook, 1594) --
The night watch / Holborne --
Psalm 84: While shepherds watched / George Kirbye --
Heigh ho holiday ; Heigh ho holiday / Holborne --
Out of the Orient crystal skies / William Byrd --
As it fell on a holie eve / Holborne --
Hodie Christus natus est (Gregorian chant) --
Hodie Christus natus est / William Byrd --
From heaven high / anonymous (Scottish) --
Balulalow / anonymous (Godly and Spirituall Songs, 1578) --
Branle l'officiel / Thoinot Arbeau (Orchésographie, 1589) --
Allons, gai bergeres / Guillaume Costeley --
Noël nouvelet! / anonymous (15th century) --
O bone Jesu / Francesco da Milano --
Canzonetta spirituale sopra alla nanna / Tarquinio Merula --
O magnum mysterium / Giovanni Gabrieli.


IV. A Medieval Christmas (Folger Consort).

For more information: http://shop.folger.edu/store/055023!055/Medieval+Christmas

Medieval Christmas

A re-release of Folger Consort's 1991 recording, A Medieval Christmas includes four additional selections from a popular 1985 release, Sing Heigh, Ho! Unto the Green Holly! A program of seasonal selections with music courtly and sophisticated, simple and charming, ranging from eleventh-century southern France to fifteenth-century England. Bonus tracks recorded in concert in the Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Robert Eisenstein, viol; Christopher Kendall, lute; Scott Reiss, recorders; with guest artists Johana Arnold, soprano; Tina Chancey, viol and violin.

1. Lux Hodie...orientis Partibus
2. Natus Est Rex
3. Noster Cetrus Psallat Letus
4. Angelorum Lauda Digna
5. In Sapiencia
6. Benedicamus Domino
7. Ave Caro
8. Psallat Chorus
9. In Excelsis Numine
10. Angelus Ad Virginem/gabriel, Fram Heven-kinge
11. Ductiae
12. Ductiae
13. Benedicamus Domino
14. Cristo E Nato
15. Benedicamus Domino - Paolo Da Firenze
16. Ave, Die Genitrix
17. Kyrie
18. Gloria - Egardus
19. Salutiam Divotamente
20. Nowell; Dieu Vous Garde
21. Ah. My Dear Son
22. Ave Rex Angelorum
23. There Is No Rose
24. Lullay, Lullow
25. Nowell, Nowell: Tidings True
26. Nowell Sing We
27. Noel, Nowell: I Am Here, Sire Christesmas
28. Abide
29. The Boares Head

Composer Info

Anders Jormin, William Brooks, Andrew Smith, Heinrich Isaac, Tomás Luis da Victoria, Luca Marenzio, Antony Holborne, George Kirbye, Orlando Gibbons, William Byrd, Thoinot Arbeau, Guillaume Costeley, Francesco da Milano, Tarquinio Merula, Giovanni Gabrieli

CD Info

ECM CD246.