Gaudete! Christus est natus

“Gaudete! Christus est natus” (“Rejoice! Christ is born”) is a medieval carol published in the 1582 collection of Finnish and Swedish sacred songs, Piae Cantiones.

The carol is a song of praise comprising a two-line refrain, or burden, alternating with four-line verses. The Latin text of the burden, “Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine. Gaudete!” translates as “Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary. Rejoice!”

Interestingly, Piae Cantiones provides no music for the verses, but a standard tune for the verses appeared in other songbooks of the time. Although verses would typically be sung by a solo voice or unison voices, this arrangement attempts to evoke something of the medieval harmonic technique of organum, with two, three and four voices in parallel intervals on the second, third and fourth verses.

View/listen to a performance by the Westminster Brass as the prelude to a service of Lessons & Carols at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, on 12/24/2012.

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99

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