Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Top Ten: Polyphony for the Nativity

In celebration today I humbly present a small, choice sampling of my favorite polyphonic pieces for the Nativity. I've taken a few liberties listing a few pieces not specifically part of the liturgy for today, so I hope you'll pardon me. Contemporary and frivolous pieces have their places in our hearts, for sure, and while we don't have to reject Rudolph and friends, these pieces, their texts and the music which elevates them to that realm of purest expression, dwell at the centers of hearts which they elevate to the cosmic dimensions of this holy day.

These pieces, against the traditions of our day, remind us that solemnity, reverence, and joy are not contradictory, but in fact very much one and the same.

10. Missa Puer Natus Est Nobis. Thomas Tallis [YouTube]

9. Mirabile Mysterium. Jacobus Gallus [YouTube]

8. Ab Oriente Venerunt Magi. Jacobus Gallus [YouTube]

7. Hodie Christus Natus Est. Giovanni de Palestrina. [YouTube]

6. Videte Miraculum. Thomas Tallis [YouTube]

5. Jauchzet, frohlocket! J. S. Bach [YouTube]

4. Laudate Dominum. Claudio Monteverdi [YouTube]

3. O Magnum Mysterium. Tomas Luis de Victoria [YouTube]

2. Viderunt Omnes Fines Terrae. William Byrd [YouTube]

1. Christen, Ätzet Diesen Tag. J. S. Bach. [YouTube]

Blatantly non-polyphonic bonus:

0. Exulta filia Sion. Claudio Monteverdi [YouTube]

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