I Sing the Birth

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Program: #13-01   Air Date: Dec 31, 2012

It has been a rough year, especially in New York and environs--let's give the last word for the season to New York Polyphony, with music for the Twelve Days and the New Year.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the ensemble New York Polyphony. For more information on this ensemble, you may check their site:


I. I Sing the Birth (Avie CD AV 2141),

The Christmas season uniquely admits the widest variety of musical tradition under one roof. From ancient plainsong to contemporary dissonance, from the simplest folk melody to the most elaborate polyphony, the Christmas repertoire combines effortlessly in the most unlikely juxtapositions. The landscape traversed on this disc is broad, from twelfth-century conductus to a 21st-century carol, though the musical centre is firmly polyphonic and rooted in the late medieval world.

The four men of the aptly named New York Polyphony fuse elegant vocalism with expert ensemble singing, delivering dynamic, historically-informed performances in a range of styles. From the simplicity of plainchant to the dense chromaticism of contemporary works, New York Polyphony's sound is unified, energized and distinctive. I Sing the Birth is New York Polyphony's debut recording.

Andrew SMITH (b.1970)
1. Veni Redemptor gentium (2:36)
2. Hodie Christus natus est (0:53)
Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525–1594)
3. Hodie Christus natus est (1:39)
4. Puer natus est nobis (2:47)
Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929–1988)
5. Lully, lulla (2:58)
PEROTIN (c.1160–1240)
6. Beata Viscera (1:54)
William CORNYSH (c.1465–1523)
7. Ave Maria Mater Dei (2:36)
8. Alma Redemptoris mater (1:39)
9. The darkest midnight in December (2:05)
Peter Maxwell DAVIES (b.1934)
10. The Fader of Heven (1:21)
11. Vox in Rama (0:53)
Clemens non PAPA (c.1510–c.1556)
12. Vox in Rama (3:08)
13. Vox in Rama (0:59)
arr. Alexander CRAIG 14. Away in a manger (2:26)
Robert PARSONS (c.1530–?1570)
15. Ave Maria (3:35)
16. Lully, lulla - Coventry Carol (2:28)
17. Ave Maria (1:00)
18. Lullay, lullow (2:10)
19. Marvel not, Joseph (5:44)
Richard SMERT (fl.1428–1477)
20. Nowell: Dieus wous garde (2:52)
21. Veni Redemptor gentium (0:51)
William BYRD (c.1540–1623)
22. O magnum mysterium (4:54)
23. Ecce advenit (2:07)
Clemens non PAPA
24. Magi veniunt ab oriente (3:18)
Andrew SMITH
25. Nunc dimittis (2:35)
26. Vox in Rama (0:56)

II. Tudor City (Avie CD AV 2186).

Classical vocal quartet New York Polyphony struck a chord with their 2007 Avie debut, I Sing the Birth (AV 2141). An intimate meditation on the Christmas season, it garnered unanimous praise on both sides of the pond. For their second release, the all-male foursome delivers their signature fusion of historically informed performances in a range of styles. Interspersed between sacred masterpieces of Tudor England are four new works by British-Norwegian composer Andrew Smith, adding a modern harmonic richness and complexity to the album. The result is a compelling synthesis of ancient and contemporary vocal music.

1. William BYRD (1540 – 1623) Ave verum corpus (4:17)
2. William CORNYSH (d. 1523) Gaude Virgo Mater Christi (5:07)
3. Andrew SMITH (b. 1970) Flos regalis (2:05)
4. ANON (c. 14th century) Flos regalis, from the Worchester Fragments (4:08)
Thomas TALLIS (c. 1505 – 1585)
5. O come in one to praise the Lord (1:01)
6. Expend, O Lord (1:07)
7. SMITH Surrexit Christus (3:24)
8. Walter LAMBE (b. 1450/51 - 1499) Stella caeli (6:49)
9. John DUNSTABLE (c. 1390 – 1453) Speciosa facta es ab (1:57)
10. Audivi vocem (4:13)
11. Why fum’th in fight (1:16)
12. Smith To mock your reign (4:50)
13. Man blest no doubt (1:13)
14. God grant with grace (1:19)
15. John TAVERNER (c. 1495 – 1560?)
Magnificat a 4 (10:53)
16. SMITH Magnificat a 4 (3:19)
17. Christopher TYE (c. 1505 - 1572)
In pace (5:51)

Composer Info

Andrew SMITH (b.1970), Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929–1988), Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525–1594), PEROTIN (c.1160–1240), William CORNYSH (c.1465–1523), Peter Maxwell DAVIES (b.1934), Clemens non PAPA (c.1510–c.1556), Robert PARSONS (c.1530–?1570), Richard SMERT (fl.1428–1477), William BYRD (c.1540–1623), William CORNYSH (d. 1523), Thomas TALLIS (c. 1505 – 1585), Walter LAMBE (b. 1450/51 - 1499), John DUNSTABLE (c. 1390 – 1453), John TAVERNER (c. 1495 – 1560?), Christopher TYE (c. 1505 - 1572)

CD Info

Avie CD AV 2186, Avie CD AV 2141