O Magnum Mysterium

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Nativity fresco; Giotto, Ambrogio Bondone c.1266-1337; San Francesco, Lower Church, Assisi, Italy

On this edition of The Choral Mix, we celebrate Christmas with a comprehensive look at the ways composers have portrayed the mystery and wonder of Jesus in the Manger surrounded by the animals looking on. We hear choral settings of the O Magnum Mysterium, the indelible mark and influence of Christmas.

The nativity has been depicted in art and music for centuries. In Latin, the scene is called O Magnum Mysterium — “O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger!”

Today, we feature choral settings of that text ranging from the Renaissance masters, Palestrina and Victoria through contemporary leading composers like Morten Lauridsen and Ola Gjeilo.

We hear several recordings made right here in New York with the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola with versions composed by the Spanish Renaissance master, Tomas Victoria and as well as Nicholas White and William Byrd.

Francis Poulenc's setting also adds distinct color with his combination of chord clusters and lyric lines. We also feature a beautiful new setting of O Magnum Mysterium by Nowegian composer, Ola Gjeilo. This new release came from Charles Bruffy and the Phoenix Chorale. And before that you heard the Sixteen new release of Palestrina’s O Magnum Mysterium.


Victoria/Silent Night/ St. Ignatius, Loyola, Kent Tritle

O Magnum Mysterium


Byrd/ I Sing The Birth/ New York Polyphony

 O Magnum Mysterium


White/ O Magnum Mysterium/ Tiffany Consort, Nicholas White

O Magnum Mysterium


Poulenc/ O Magnum Mysterium/ Robert Shaw Festival Singers & Robert Shaw Chamber Singers

Four Motets for Christmas: I. O magnum mysterium


Villete/ Villete-Cinq Motets/ Choeur de Chambre de Rouen, Daniel Bargier

O Magnum Mysterium


Morales/ Angelus/ Zephyrus

O Magnum Mysterium


Lauridsen/ O Magnum Mysterium/ Robert Shaw Festival Singers & Robert Shaw Chamber Singers

O Magnum Mysterium


Gjeilo/ Northern Lights/ Phoenix Chorale, Charles Bruffy

Serenity “O Magnum Mysterium”


Palestrina/ Palestrina: Volume 2/ The Sixteen and Harry Christophers

O Magnum Mysterium


Pinkham/True Light/Berlin Philharmonic Wind Ensemble, Phillip Mayers, Berlin Radio Choir, Andre J Thomas

O Magnum Mysterium


Gabrieli/ Great Performances: The Glory of Gabrieli/ E. Powers Biggs, Gregg Smith Singers, The Edward Tarr Brass Ensemble, The Gabrieli Consort La Fenice & The Texas Boys Choir

O Magnum Mysterium


Jacobus Clemens 'non Papa' / Chandos

Tone Elisabeth Braaten, soprano/Ingrid Hanken, soprano/Edda Rydh, mezzo-soprano/Narianne Beate Kielland, mezzo soprano/Per Kristian Amundrod, tenor/Frank Havroy, baritone



Comments [5]

Very beautiful program.

Dec. 30 2012 04:19 PM
Michael Muchmore

I once heard a very impressive o magnum mysterium by Dominick Argento, but can't find it anywhere.

Dec. 25 2012 10:11 PM
Carole from Brooklyn, NY

This gorgeous program put me in a sublime zone. Thank you for all those lovely selections!

Dec. 25 2012 04:36 PM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan/NYC

Beautiful, peaceful, contemplative music for the Sunday before Christmas.

Dec. 23 2012 09:16 AM

wonderfully ethereal playlist...thanks!

Dec. 23 2012 07:44 AM

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