Sunday, 30 November 2008

Seasonal Music

Advent and Christmas are richly musical seasons and there are many recordings available of carols and noels, cantatas and oratorios. Each year I look with interest at the many new CDs produced for the festive Season, although it is always a great temptation to put on recordings of carols as soon as we light the first candle on the Advent Wreath.

Here are two particularly fine new CDs, though rather different from the usual ‘Ultimate Carol Collection’ or ‘Best Christmas CD Ever.’

Hieronymus Praetorius, Magnificats and motets
(The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood)
Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629) – not to be confused with the slightly more famous Michael Praetorius (curiously not related) – worked in Hamburg and produced some ravishing and lively polyphonic music. This CD includes his masterpiece, the Magnificat quinti toni to which is attached two popular Christmas carols: Joseph, liber Joseph mein and In dulci jubilo (my favourite carol). The booklet notes that the former piece was ‘associated with the cradle-rocking ceremony at Christmas vespers – a priest would sit next to a cradle containing an effigy of the baby Jesus and would rock the cradle gently in time to the lilting rhythm of the music.’ The Cardinall’s Musick is one of our best choirs and its director, Andrew Carwood, was formerly Director of Music at the Brompton Oratory and is now in charge of the choir at St Paul’s Cathedral. For more information and samples, click here.

Natalis Cordat and Nicolas Saboly, Noel Baroque en Pays D’Oc
(La Camera delle Lacrime, Bruno Bonhoure)
This rather obscure CD contains C17 settings of French Noels by Natalis Cordat (c.1610-63), parish priest of Cussac-sur-Loire, and Nicolas Saboly, an organist in Avignon. It includes some familiar tunes, such as Li a pron de gens (allegedly written by Saboly to make fun of a lame priest he knew). The pieces are excitingly performed on period instruments and have a rustic charm, which makes you think back to C17 Provence. For more information and samples, click here.

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Blogger M.J. said...

Glad to see that The Cardinall's Musick has a new CD out in the stores.

7:31 pm  
Blogger Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Thanks for this post...antidote to A Wriggly Nativity!!

11:16 am  

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