Three European Christmas Journeys

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Program: #20-01   Air Date: Dec 23, 2019

Medieval Christmas in Prague, Strasbourg in the middles ages and Renaissance, and a Swedish Folk Christmas.

I. Cor Europae: Christmas in Mediaeval Prague (Tiburtina Ensemble/Barbora Kabátková). Ricercar CD RIC 410. 

Cor Europae. Christmas in Mediaeval Prague
Prague has always been regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The name ‘Cor Europae’ (Heart of Europe) probably dates from the country’s early history, in the thirteenth century, when the Kingdom of Bohemia stretched from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. This was a period of great prosperity, especially under King Wenceslaus II Přemyslid, and culminated with the reign of Charles IV, who was both King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor. Despite the fact that Bohemia was the centre of Europe and benefited from the presence of many scholars (more especially after the foundation of the university in 1348), the local culture also preserved an older tradition there. This can be seen in the beautiful repertory for the Advent and Christmas period that have survived in the sources of Prague Cathedral and the Benedictine abbey of Prague Castle. These sources make it possible to reconstruct the liturgy of the Feast of the Nativity as it was celebrated there, with organa and tropes in the tradition of twelfth-century music, at a time when the new Ars Nova style was flourishing elsewhere in Europe. It is this music that the wonderful voices of the Tiburtina Ensemble bring to life for us.
 
Antiphona Ave spes nostra [1:20]
Benedicamen In hac precelsa sollempnitate [1:50]
Kyrie Creator pater increate [3:09]
Hymnus Veni Redemptor gencium [2:20]
Lectio Primo tempore [3:42]
Offertorium Tui sunt celi – Tropus Nate Dei [8:12]
Lectio Iube Domine – Consolamini [2:49]
Benedicamen Splendor patris et sol – Festivali melodia [4:10]
Benedicamen Puer natus in Bethlehem [2:01]
Lectio Consolamini [5:06]
Responsorium Descendit de cælis – Tropus Fabrica mundi [7:59]
Lectio Iube Domine – Consurge [1:49]
Benedicamen Nos respectu gracie [1:58]
Introitus Lux fulgebit – Tropus Lumen clarum rite [4:45]
Cantio Gaude quam magnificat [1:19]
Sanctus super Gaude quam magnificat [2:23]
Benedicamen Patrem parit filia [1:55]
Agnus Dei [1:40]
Motet Exordium quadruplate – Nate Dei – Concrepet infanti – Verbum caro [1:36] 
 
II. Antiphona Ave spes nostra [1:20]
Benedicamen In hac precelsa sollempnitate [1:50]
Kyrie Creator pater increate [3:09]
Hymnus Veni Redemptor gencium [2:20]
Lectio Primo tempore [3:42]
Offertorium Tui sunt celi – Tropus Nate Dei [8:12]
Lectio Iube Domine – Consolamini [2:49]
Benedicamen Splendor patris et sol – Festivali melodia [4:10]
Benedicamen Puer natus in Bethlehem [2:01]
Lectio Consolamini [5:06]
Responsorium Descendit de cælis – Tropus Fabrica mundi [7:59]
Lectio Iube Domine – Consurge [1:49]
Benedicamen Nos respectu gracie [1:58]
Introitus Lux fulgebit – Tropus Lumen clarum rite [4:45]
Cantio Gaude quam magnificat [1:19]
Sanctus super Gaude quam magnificat [2:23]
Benedicamen Patrem parit filia [1:55]
Agnus Dei [1:40]
Motet Exordium quadruplate – Nate Dei – Concrepet infanti – Verbum caro [1:36] (Spielleyt/Early Music Freidburg). Christophorus CD CHE 0218-2.
 

II. Weihnacht der Speilleyt: Straßeburger Gesangbuch 1697  (Early Music Freiburg/Spielleyt). Christophorus CD CHE 0218-2.

Weihnacht der Spielleyt: Strassburger Gesangbuch (1697) | Christophorus CHE02182
The ensemble Spielleyt - Early Music Freiburg presents on this album a series of Christmas songs from the song collection of the Strasbourg hymnbook from 1697. The preface of the hymnbook states that the song selection consists of 'außerlesenen, uhralten und ... new songs'. 'Uhralt' here means that the melodies of some songs can date back to the Middle Ages. The ensemble has restored the songs in question from the Strasbourg hymnal to a medieval sound. The ensemble Spielleyt was formed in Freiburg in 1990. The name is taking from Spielleute, the German word for medieval players. Group members were drawn from students at the University of Freiburg and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
 
 

III. Folkjul II—A Swedish Folk Christmas BIS CD 2334

Folkjul 2 - A Swedish Folk Christmas
 
Well into the previous century Sweden was largely a peasant society with folk music an integral part of daily life. There were work songs, narrative ballads and, obviously, music for dancing. Over the centuries a not always easy coexistence between religion and folk culture developed, with hymns being adapted to a folk-music aesthetic while popular traditions were given a Christian veneer. An example of the latter is the rich store of ‘Staffan ballads’, springing from a pre-Christian horse cult but given a new slant as its focus shifted to St. Stephen – the first Christian martyr.

Gunnar Idenstam and St Jacobs Chamber Choir have performed their Folkjul concerts more or less every year since 2002. The concept stem from a rich interplay between ‘folk culture’ and ‘high culture’ and in Idenstam’s arrangements a newly composed halling or polska entwines itself round the old Christmas melodies. The first Folkjul album was released in 2007 – this time the choir and Idenstam are joined by violinist Sandra Marteleur and Ulrika Bodén, one of Sweden’s most well-established folk singers.

 
  Traditional
 
01 Från himmelen kom ängeln Gabriel (Gabriel’s Message) 2'28      
  Philipp Nicolai
 
02 Var hälsad sköna morgonstund (All Hail to Thee, O Blessed Morn) 8'17      
  Traditional
 
03 In dulci jubilo 4'26      
  Traditional
 
04 Tiggarvisa från Malung (Begging Song from Malung) 3'48      
  Viktor Gabrielsson
 
05 Polska av Viktor Gabrielsson (Polska by Viktor Gabrielsson) 4'33      
  Alice Tegnér
 
06 Nu sjunga Guds änglar (God’s Angels Now Sing) 2'00      
  Sandra Marteleur
 
07 En gangar till kaffet (A Gangar with Your Coffee) 3'05      
  Traditional
 
08 Det lyser en stjärna (A Star Shines Bright) 6'35      
  Emmy Köhler
 
09 Nu tändas tusen juleljus (A Thousand Candles are Now Lit) 2'17      
  Gunnar Idenstam
 
10 Christines polska (A Polska for Christine) 4'19      
  Traditional
 
11 Staffansvisa / Musette (Staffan Ballad / Musette) 4'47      
  Traditional
 
12 Staffan Halling II 2'42      
  Traditional
 
13 En stjärna gick på himlen fram (A Star Passed Across the Sky) 5'53      
  Traditional
 
14 Den signade dag (The Blessed Day) 2'32      
  Sofia Sanden
 
15 Allt vid den ljusa stjärnan (Upon the Bright Star) 4'14      
  Mats Wallman
 
16 Julottan (Christmas Morning) 3'51      
  Martin Luther
 
17 Från himlens höjd (From Heaven Above)        

Composer Info

Athanasius Kircher, Michael Praetorius, Tielman Susato, Philipp Nicolai, Viktor Gabrielsson, Alice Tegnér, Sandra Marteleur, Emmy Köhler, Sofia Sanden, Staffan Halling II, Mats Wallman, Martin Luther

CD Info

CD RIC 410, CD CHE 0218-2, BIS CD 2334