s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Christmas carols: Gaudete!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Christmas carols: Gaudete!

"Gaudete!" (lit. "Rejoice!") was published in 1582 as part of the collection Piae Cantiones. (However, this source gives only the music for the refrain; the music used for the verses dates from an early 15th century source.) The text of the refrain means "Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary; rejoice!" The verses celebrate God made man and include a reference to the gate of Ezekiel, a metaphor for the Virgin Mary. (She's worth a lot of metaphors, apparently.)

The text and music of the refrain have been criticized for being poorly matched — the first "Gaudete!" has the second and third syllables stressed, while the second "Gaudete!" lacks a stress on the first syllable (which is where it should properly be) — so other words are sometimes paired with this tune. Nonetheless, the original version remains quite popular.

Les Petits Chanteurs de Laval, 2007:

King's Singers, from their album A Little Christmas Music, 1990:

I found a video recording of the King's Singers performing this carol, but the quality was terrible, so I settled for this audio-only recording, instead.

University of Southern Mississippi, Carillon Handbell Choir, 2006:

Another audio-only version, this time instrumental.

Bonus track: Steeleye Span, 1973:

"Gaudete" was a 1973 hit single for British folk band Steeleye Span. Of course, it wasn't very representative of their other work, being that it was sung a capella and, you know, entirely in Latin. (It's got to be a bit harsh when you're best loved for being the least like yourself.)


At January 23, 2009 6:08 PM, Blogger Redoubt said...

I think I know this song, but since I can't get the sound to work on my work computer, I just don't know. I'll try it again when I get home. Because if it's the song I'm thinking of I might have something interesting to say about it.

At January 25, 2009 12:01 PM, Blogger Melyngoch said...

This is fantastic. I mean, all of these. It makes me wish I hadn't sort of just drifted right by Christmas this year. Can we have Christmas over again please?

At January 25, 2009 3:50 PM, Blogger Katya said...

Mel - Well, we can have Christmas carols every Friday, at least.

Redoubt - Did it turn out that you knew the song?


Post a Comment

<< Home