Friday, January 01, 2010

Hodie Christus Natus Est (2009)

Hodie Christus Natus Est - "Today Christ Is Born" - is the antiphon upon Magnificat at Vespers of Christmas Day.  Here it is, sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie.

Hodie Christus natus est:
Hodie Salvator apparuit:
Hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
laetantur Archangeli
Hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Today Christ is born:
Today the Savior appeared:
Today on Earth the Angels sing,
Archangels rejoice:
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest.

Here's the chant score from the Liber Usualis:

It's a beautiful song, isn't it?   I've been seeking some information online about the provenance of the antiphon; I wanted to know how old it is, which manuscript is the earliest that contains it, what part of the world it comes from - things like that.  Surprisingly, I haven't been able to find any of that out - but I did come across another lovely recording of the antiphon from Anonymous 4; here's the .ram file.

I imagine I need to get some access to some (online?) manuscript libraries to find out the things I want to know about this antiphon; all that stuff is outside the area of general interest, I guess. Well, that will be fun, too.  [EDIT:  Derek came along and answered my question; here's more on that.]


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is beautiful. What has your experience been with local variation in texts/melodies? I just noticed that the melody of the Salve Regina, for example, on the Solesmes recording Vespers and Compline differs in a few places from the 1960 edition of the Roman Breviary.

bls said...

There is lots and lots of variation; see the other post for a link demonstrating one example - a Great "O" Antiphon whose tune had become almost unrecognizable, in fact....


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