Christmas from the Old World

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On this week's episode of the Choral Mix, Kent Tritle takes you on a musical tour through the very Old World, with stops in medieval  Hungary, Germany, Italy and more. We hear anonymous works that have echoed through the ages, as well as pioneering choral masterworks from Palestrina, Praetorious and Tallis. 

Some of the best Christmas music comes from Europe in the medieval age and the Renaissance. Though you may never hear it piped into shopping malls starting right after Thanksgiving, the music from hundreds of years ago remains an open invitation to quiet the soul and still the mind.




Antiphon: Ave spes nostra (Hail, Mother of god, our Hope)

Song: Mi Atyánk Atya Isten (Our Father, God the Father)

Alleluia: Veni domine (Come O Lord)

Anonymous 4: Marsha Genensky; Johanna Rose; Susan Hellauer; Ruth Cunningham, Soprano

Harmonia Mundi 3957139



Pérotin: Beata Viscera

New York's Ensemble for Early Music

Frederick Renz, Conductor

Excathedra Records EC-9001



Traditional: Noël nouvelet (Arranged by Ian Humphries, Joseph Jennings and Matthew Oltman)

Matthew Oltman, Tenor

Teldec 85555



Anonymous: Il Est Né

King’s Singers

Aabaa Records 2007



Hans Leo Hassler: In dulci jubilo

Penalosa Ensemble

Carus 83396



Michael Praetorius: Polyhymnia caduceatrix et panegyrica: Missa gantz Teudsch - Gloria 

Gabrieli Consort and Players,

Paul McCreesh, Conductor

Archiv Produktion (DG) 439 250-2



Anonymous: Personent hodie

Theatre of Voices

Paul Hillier, Conductor

Harmonia Mundi 907079



Thomas Tallis: Missa Puer Natus Est Nobis: Sanctus

Tallis Scholars

Peter Phillips, Conductor

Gimell 34



Anonymous: Mervele Noght, Josep

NY Polyphony

AVIE Records 2141



Tomás Luis de Victoria: O Magnum Mysterium

The Boston Camerata

Joel Cohen, Conductor

Nonesuch Records 79134  



Giovanni Palestrina: O Magnum Mysterium

The Sixteen

Harry Christophers, Conductor




Anonymous: Stella Nuova

Folger Consort

Robert Eisenstein, Rebec, Vielle, Viol, recorder; Christopher Kendall, Lute, Harp, Mandora; Scott Reiss, Recorders, Percussion, Psaltery, Reed pipe, Bells;

with Julianne Baird, Soprano; Michael Collver, Countertenor; Frederick Urrey, Tenor; William Sharp, Baritone; and Peggy Marie Haas, Organ

Bard Records 097761890247

(Recorded by the Folger Shakespeare Library; Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library on December 22, 1984)