Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers

Program: #14-50   Air Date: Dec 08, 2014

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Apollo’s Fire and the Canadian ensemble La Nef combine the ancient medieval Scottish tradition with carols, dances and even fiddle tunes.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the recent recording Sacrum Mysterium—A Celtic Christmas Vespers. It is on the Avie label and is CD AV2269.

A tapestry of mystical Scottish Gregorian chant, ancient pagan carols, Celtic fiddle tunes & joyous dances – featuring highlights from the 13th-century Vespers of St. Kentigern, Patron Saint of Glasgow
Jeannette Sorrell, conductor
Meredith Hall, soprano
Jesse Blumberg, baritone
with Ensemble La Nef & Sylvain Bergeron

For more information:

Sacrum Mysterium: Celtic Christmas Vespers(CD + Bonus DVD)


From ArkivMusik: Long before Christianity took hold in Scotland and Ireland, the ancient Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice and the coming of light and hope. The echoes of Paganism still resounded in the 13th and 14th centuries, when faithful Scots sang the Vespers of St. Kentigern, Patron Saint of Glasgow.

Jeannette Sorrell's new celebration of Celtic artistic traditions interweaves selections from the medieval Vespers of St. Kentigern with ancient pagan carols and popular tunes from 17th-century Welsh and Scottish manuscripts for lute and harp. Joyous fiddle tunes and Irish dances (complete with foot percussion!) burst forth against the vivid backdrop of the unfolding Christ story. Premiered in six sold-out concerts in Cleveland in 2011, the program evokes the sacred mysteries of a medieval procession in the opening track, "Oikan ains Bethlehem" (The Babe in Bethlehem). The colorful sounds of antiphonal bagpipes, archlute, harp, percussion, fiddles and recorders are blended in musical arrangements by Sylvain Bergeron and Sorrell. The early-music ensemble La Nef of Montreal joins Apollo's Fire for this international collaboration featuring the radiant Canadian soprano Meredith Hall.
Disc 1:

1. Processional: Oikan ayns Bethlehem (The Babe in Bethlehem) (Manx Gaelic Carol)

2. Duan Nollaig (Scottish Gaelic Carol)

From The Vespers of St Kentigern:

3. Deus in adjutorium - Alleluia (Alleluia by Jeannette Sorrell)

4. Responsorium - Gloria Patri

5. Hymnus: Iste confessor Domini

6. Alleluia (Jeannette Sorrell)

7. The Road to Lisdoonvarna (Traditional Irish jig)

Offertory & Carols:

8. Veni, veni, Emmanuel (12th-century carol)

9. Nowell, Nowell, Tydings Trew (15th-century carol)

10. Noël nouvelet | 15th-century French/Breton carol, Oxford English text

11. Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night) (Traditional English)

12. Come, My Children Dere (17th century Scottish carol, arr. Alexander Montgomerie & Jeannette Sorrell)

13. Wat ye what I got yestreen (Skene MS, Scottish, 1715)

14. Taladh Chriosda (Christ Child's Lullaby) | Scottish Gaelic lullaby

15. Hodie, Christus natus est (Gregorian Antiphon to the Magnificat, Vespers for Christmas Day) From The Vespers of St Kentigern:

16. Magnificat anima mea

17. Antiphon de Maria ad Vesperas - Benedicamus

Hymn & Carols:

18. All Sons of Adam, Sing Nowell! (Tune from Forbes, Songs & Fancies, Aberdeen, 1662)

19. What Child is This? (Tune: My Lagan Love, traditional Irish air)

20. Usheg veg ruy (Little Red Bird) (Manx Gaelic lullaby)

21. O'Carolan's Cup Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738)

22. O'Carolan's Favorite Jig (Turlough O'Carolan)

23. At Work on the Land/Tatter Jack Walsh (arr. Tina Bergmann and Jem Moore)

24. The Seven Rejoyces of Mary (Traditional Irish carol)

25. Postlude: Christmas Eve (Irish reel)

Disc 2:

1. Highlights from the premiere concerts at the stunning Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio (Bonus DVD)





Composer Info

Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738)

CD Info

CD AV2269