Quire Cleveland | Carols for Quire from the Old & New Worlds, Vol. 4 (Live)

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Carols for Quire from the Old & New Worlds, Vol. 4 (Live)

by Quire Cleveland

You'll delight in Christmas & Hanukkah music for choir from around the world — from Renaissance chant to songs in 3 North American Indian languages, from new settings of popular Hanukkah tunes to brilliantly entertaining arrangements of English favorites!
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Christe Redemptor (Live)
5:15 $0.99
2. Lapsed Caicki Laolacatt (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
1:50 $0.99
3. Iloidcam Ja Reimuidcam (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
1:44 $0.99
4. Mekletaja Cels (The Christmas Rose) [Live]
3:33 $0.99
5. There Is a Flower (Live)
4:33 $0.99
6. Magi Veniunt Ab Oriente (Live)
2:53 $0.99
7. Ies8s Ahatonnia (The Huron Carol) (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
3:25 $0.99
8. Joseph K8riritenes (Joseph Est Bien Marie) (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
3:33 $0.99
9. 8i8 Satannitenrascon (Conditor Alme Siderum) (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
4:13 $0.99
10. O Nuit! (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
4:38 $0.99
11. Gaudete in Domino (Live)
1:51 $0.99
12. Sa Qui Turo Zente Pleta (Live)
4:18 $0.99
13. Mi Yemalel (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
2:37 $0.99
14. Ma'oz Tzur Yeshu'ati (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
4:09 $0.99
15. Die Zwolf Heiligen Zahlen (Arr. by Ross W. Duffin) [Live]
5:59 $0.99
16. The Twelve Days of Christmas (Arr. by Ian Humphries) [Live]
4:09 $0.99
17. Jingle Bells (Arr. by Ben Parry) [Live]
3:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This recording comprises some of our favorite selections from Carols for Quire from the Old & New Worlds programs in December 2015–2017, all recorded live in concert.

First is "Christe redemptor omnium" by the early Renaissance master, Guillaume DuFay. Here the famous Christmas hymn is presented in Gregorian chant in the odd-numbered verses, and in DuFay’s three-voice polyphony — including lots of sweet fauxbourdon sonorities — in the even-numbered ones. "Christe redemptor" is one of the first chants for Christmas, being the hymn for First Vespers (sung on Christmas Eve).

"Piæ Cantiones" was published initially in 1582, but without place of publication. That mystery was solved with the printing of a new edition in 1616, with the exact same collection, including the original Latin titles, but this time with Finnish lyrics and no music. Our two selections from the Finnish version include "Lapsed caicki laolacatt," a translation of "Personent hodie," and "Iloidcam ja reimuidcam," a translation of "Gaudete" (both sung in Latin on Carols for Quire CD, volume 2). It does not appear that anyone has previously attempted to set the Finnish lyrics to the music of the Latin original. For the arrangement of "Lapsed caicki," I made a harmonization of the "Personent hodie" tune given in the 1582 print. For "Iloidcam" ("Gaudete"), the music is given in "Piæ Cantiones" only as a four-voice refrain. The lyrics to the stanzas are printed but, oddly, there is no music for them at all, so I created a monophonic verse based on the tenor of the existing refrain and, for our last stanza, harmonized it to match.

"Meklētāja ceļš" (The Christmas Rose), by the Latvian composer Andrejs Jansons, contains echoes of Slavic and eastern European folksongs. It is a beautiful setting of a poem by Kārlis Skalbe — so charming, in fact, that we decided to sing it twice, first using the original Latvian text and then the English translation by Vilnis Baumanis.

The English composer John Rutter’s "There is a flower" is a setting an early 15th-century poem by the priest and poet John Audelay — or, at least, five of its original seven verses. It was composed as a commission from the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1986. Quire Cleveland was thrilled to have our YouTube performance of this beautiful piece chosen by John Rutter for his Advent Calendar in December 2017.

"Magi veniunt ab oriente" is a sumptuous motet for low voices by Jacobus Clemens non Papa. The text, from the Gospel of Matthew, is a responsory for the feast of Epiphany, where the Wise Men ask directions to visit the baby whose star they have been following.

Next follow three Christmas works in North American Indian languages. The first, "Jes8s ahatonnia," is a carol whose lyric was written in the Wendat language by the Jesuit missionary to the Huron Indians, Fr. Jean de Brébeuf, who was martyred in 1649. My reconstruction of this carol was sung on our very first Carols program in 2009. In the years since, I became fascinated by the fact that Brébeuf apparently used a well-known French “noël” — a popular French Christmas song — for the tune, and I eventually ran across other examples, which I reconstructed for Quire to sing. "Joseph K8riritenés" is a noël in the language of the Abenaki Indians of Québec and Maine; it survives with music notation, making clear that it is an aboriginal version of the noël we have sung and recorded previously as "Joseph est bien marié." The third piece is "8i8 satannitenrascon," a Mohawk version of the Gregorian hymn "Conditor alme siderum," which survives in a manuscript now at Georgetown University. The common thread in all of these seems to be Jesuit missionaries, who shared the Christmas music of their homeland with their flocks, after translating the pieces into the local native languages.

In Act i, scene 3 of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1733 opera "Hyppolyte et Aricie," there is an air for a Priestess of Diana with a chorus. The piece was later given a parody text, "O Nuit," which has come to have an association with Christmas. Its most famous use was as the centerpiece in the charming 2004 movie "Les Choristes," exemplifying the redemptive power of choral singing. I returned to Rameau’s original and made a new arrangement of "O Nuit" for Quire Cleveland.

"Gaudete in Domino" is an all-too-brief motet by the great Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Giaches de Wert. It sets the Introit text for the third Sunday in Advent, beginning with a rising scalar figure entering in successively lower voices, and concluding with a spirited reiteration of “rejoice, rejoice.”

"Sã qui turo zente plet"a is an 18th-century Christmas song in Afro-Portuguese. At that time in Portugal, there were many people from Guinea, West Africa, who had been brought there as slaves. This piece is apparently an attempt to portray the kind of singing they did. It is in the voice of Christianized Africans, but it is almost certainly not composed by a slave. Still, if it imitates the kind of singing practiced by the Guinea natives, it is an fascinating document of their culture.

Next are two “Renaissance” settings for Hanukkah, the first of which is "Mi yemalel," by Giovanni Bassano. The piece was published as "Confitemini Domino," a motet with Latin text, in Bassano’s "Concerti Ecclesiastici" (Venice, 1599), but two things led me to make this arrangement. The first is that, although Bassano was a cornetto player at the Cathedral of San Marco in Venice, he was almost certainly Jewish. He was cousin to the Bassanos in the royal wind band in England, and they are known to have been Jewish. The second thing is that the text is a setting of Psalm 106, which extols the bravery of the Maccabees and is sung frequently at Hanukkah. It occurred to me that Bassano may have chosen to set this psalm, because of its connection to the Festival of Lights, and that, as a Jew, he may have had the Hebrew text in mind when he first sat down to write it. The Hebrew psalm certainly fits Bassano’s music well.

The other new “Renaissance” piece is a setting of "Ma’oz Tzur Yeshu’ati," a Hebrew version of the popular Hanukkah song, “Rock of Ages, let our song praise thy saving power.” The tune for that popular song seems to have its origins in the 16th-century hymn, "Nun frewt euch ließen Christen gmeyn," first published in Martin Luther’s hymnal of 1524. Luther’s colleague Johann Walter made multiple settings of this hymn; I chose his 1551 musical setting to use with the Hebrew words. Something like this must have happened for the song to have adapted this melody, so this is a version of how it could have sounded in the 16th century.

To many who have attended a Passover Seder, the German song, "Die Zwölf heiligen Zahlen," will recall the counting game, “Who knows one?” In this case, the song is clearly Christian, rather than Jewish, and seems to date back to the 15th or 16th century. In fact, it is not clear whether the Hebrew song (which was first recorded in an Ashkenazic Haggadah of the 16th century) or the German song came first. The melody used for this setting was current in Vienna in the 18th century, and may have been used earlier. For my arrangement, I left the sayings of the individuals as solo voices, with the questions and responses of the “collective” in simple period harmony.

Next is "The twelve days of Christmas," in a delightful arrangement by the late Ian Humphris (1927–2012). We are not sure if he intended the animal sounds to be quite so vivid, but we had a good time with them! Last of all is a setting of "Jingle Bells," the famous seasonal song by the New Englander James Lord Pierpont, first published in 1857. This jazzy arrangement, sung by Quire as an encore, is by Ben Parry (b.1965).

— Ross W. Duffin



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