The choirs of Mater Dei parish have released a second CD, this one for Advent and Christmas. Included on this CD is the O Magnum Mysterium Mass by Victoria, Palestrina’s Alma Redemptoris Mater, Guerrero’s Sancta et Immaculata, and a number of nice Gregorian Chant pieces. There are 23 tracts in all.
Advent and Christmas CD
First, the original parish announcement:
Okay, so it’s a little unfair to critique a CD that one had a hand in producing; however, I will strive to give my honest opinion. On the positive side, I think the CD is an excellent effort for a volunteer choir. The choir did not have any professional assistance, and everything was recorded in a private home over the course of two Saturdays. The CD artwork was produced by one of our altos, and a lot of effort went into practicing, recording, and production.
All that being true, I also feel this CD did not turn out quite as well as the first one, Lux in Tenebris. There are a few more mistakes (although not egregious) and something about the recording itself just doesn’t feel as full and balanced, in my opinion.
Many, if not most, Christmas CDs are a collection of familiar hymns such as Silent Night and Joy to the World. This CD differentiates itself in that it contains many less familiar Latin hymns, giving the listener some variety. Several more familiar hymns are also present such as Veni, Veni Emmanuel and Flos de Radice Jesse (Lo, How a Rose), but for the most part, the tracts are less well known.
Finally, this is an Advent and Christmas CD. That means the earlier tracts are hymns appropriate for Advent, and the remaining tracts are appropriate for Christmas.
For Lux in Tenebris, my personal favorite tract was Aestimatus Sum. This time around, I’m going with Sancta et Immaculata (a hymn for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception) followed by Veni O Sapientia and Dominus Dixit (tie). While I have a soft spot for polyphony, I think many of the chants turned out quite well, even better than some of the polyphonic ones.
Here’s brief preview of Sancta et Immaculata, taken from the middle of the hymn:
Full List of Tracts
- Veni Veni Emmanuel (Traditional Chant)
- Alma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
- Rorate Coeli (Introit: 4th Sun of Advent)
- Creator Alme Siderum (Anonymous; 9th century)
- Veni O Sapientia (J. Singenberger)
- O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)
- Sancta et Immaculata (Guerrero)
- Flos de Radice (Harm. by Praetorius)
- Dominus Dixit (Introit – Christmas midnight mass)
- Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) – Kyrie
- Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) – Gloria
- Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) – Sanctus
- Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) – Benedictus
- Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria) – Agnus Dei
- Puer Natus est (Introit: Christmas Day mass)
- Gaudete (traditional, anonymous)
- Jesu Redemptor Omnium (Ravanello & 6th cent. chant)
- Hodie Christus Natus est (Nanino)
- Lumen ad Revelationem (Gregorian chant)
- Omnes de Saba (Gradual of Epiphany; gregorian chant)
- Omnes de Saba Venient (Asula)
- Senex Puerum Portabat (Victoria)
- Exultate Deo (Scarlatti)