This polyphonic setting of the refrain of Puer Natus in Bethlehem continues the project of music honoring the Infant Jesus. I completed this piece in late June 2017. The sheet music is available for free download at the bottom of this post. Whereas Vox Clara honors Jesus in the season of Advent, Puer Natus in Bethlehem is an ancient Christmas hymn.
This short piece is a simple embellishment of the refrain “In cordis jubilo” from the well-known chanted melody. The above video includes the optional descant, but the refrain can also be sung in just three parts:
With upwards of 14 chanted verses available, there is room for flexibility in which verses take the polyphonic refrain and, of those, which have the descant.
What strikes me most about the text of Puer Natus in Bethlehem are its many contrasts and natural impossibilities. A virgin conceives a son. He is born of a mother without the seed of a man. Though his reign is without end, he lies in a manger. He is like us in all things except for sin. He takes on our flesh that we might be transformed.
Ut redderet nos homines, Deo et sibi similes.
I think this line translates, “that we men might return to and be like God”. It is as though in sending Jesus, God is making good on the devil’s empty promise to Adam and Eve. Imagine being able to turn the lie of your sworn enemy into truth. Wow.
Please download the free sheet music and use it for the glory and honor of the Child Jesus. Drop a note in the comment box. I would like to know if you are singing this or any piece I have written.
About the Featured Image
The featured image is taken from the Nativity by Noel-Niclas Coyel III. It is in the public domain.