Duration: 5 minutes
First performance: Brussels Chamber Choir, Helen Cassano, 11.12.14, Notre Dame du Bon Secours, Brussels
Listen to Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus by Alan Charlton, performed by the Brussels Chamber Choir, conducted by Helen Cassano, from the album Cloud and Mirrors:
Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus (Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born)
This piece was commissioned by the Brussels Chamber Choir, and first performed by them on December 11th 2014 at the Notre-Dame du Bon Secours church in Brussels. The text comes from the Swedish-Finnish collection of late-medieval songs Piæ Cantiones. Charlton chose not to use the original melody, but to write his own in the Dorian mode. He then combined several techniques to give the carol an archaic feeling. Each verse presents the melody in a different voice: first it is introduced by a baritone soloist, a duet between sopranos and basses follows, then an alto-tenor duet with a triplet rhythm, and the last verse is sung by sopranos and altos. For each melodic intervention, the other voices provide a lulling bourdon as an accompaniment. In between each verse, the full chorus performs the refrain (“Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria virgine”) in a 4-part canon. The last refrain is in a much faster tempo, in a final stretto, starting piano and creating an ecstatic build-up to the final chord on an open fifth.
Traditional (16th century): Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus
Gaudete! Gaudete ! Christus est natus ex Maria virgine ! Gaudete!
Tempus adest gratiæ, hoc quod optabamus;carmina laetitiæ devote reddamus.
Deus homo factus est, natura mirante;mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante.
Ezechielis porta clausa pertransitur;unde lux est orta, salus invenitur.
Ergo nostra cantio psallat iam in lustro;Benedicat Domino; salus regi nostro.