Christmas greetings on this feast of the circumcision and happy belated birthday wishes to my nephew!
Four years ago, “Once in Royal David’s City” was among the first batch of Christmas carols featured on this site. I so love the song that I present another performance of it—this time at Saint Paul’s in London:
I fancy those Jacobean ruffs! If only the Church of England would hold fast to old theology and morality, Albion might be saved from ruin!
Happy Boxing Day!
Here is the traditional Irish Wexford Carol, sung by the Palestrina Choir of Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.
When I visited Dublin, I attended services at the city’s three cathedrals: Christ Church, Saint Patrick’s, and Saint Mary’s. Even before the Reformation, Dublin had two cathedrals.
Merry Christmas to those who follow the new calendar. May your Christmastide be beautiful and joyful.
For your gift, Christendom College Choir and Schola Gregoriana sing “What Child Is This?” magnificently:
What a perfect use of the tune “Greensleeves”!
May those on the new calendar have a wonderful Christmas Eve!
A fitting carol for the day is this lovely rendition of the English hymn, “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” performed by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge:
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.
His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.
I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.
I thought that I knew the depths of pain in which Roman Catholics suffer for their faith in these dark days, but then I followed a link from Fr. Z. to hear the “Alleluia Cha Cha.” James Preece has a bit of fun with the tune’s composer in “Paul Inwood walks in to a bar . . .” at Catholic and Loving It.
I did not think that anyone could compete with John Foley, S.J. Please pardon me if I fantasize about Saint Cecilia’s going all Beatrix Kiddo on these “composers.”
Christ is risen!
As I mentioned three years ago in “The Angel Cried,” one of my favorite hymns is the Paschal hymn to the Theotokos. Here it is sung in English by a small choir in California:
May the rest of your Bright Week be blessed.
Christ is born!
Here is the Russian Cathedral Choir of Paris singing the kontakion for the feast of the Nativity:
Here are the troparion and some other hymns specific to the feast by an unknown choir:
Monachos has the texts for various hymns.
Troparion of the Nativity:
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
Hath shone upon the world the light of knowledge;
For thereby, they that worshipped the stars
Were taught by a star
To worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
And to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high.
O Lord, glory be to Thee!
Kontakion of the Nativity:
Today the Virgin giveth birth
To Him who is above all being,
And the earth offereth a cave
To Him whom no man can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory,
And magi journey with a star.
For our sake is born a young Child,
The Pre-eternal God!
Here is “O Holy Night” sung by the choir at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King:
I was aghast when I saw the cathedral’s interior. Then, I discovered that it is the Roman cathedral in Liverpool, which was built in the lamentable years of the Sixties. Its design reminds me of something that one would find on Coruscant. Did the post-conciliar architects consult Ralph McQuarrie before building their temples? At least, Liverpool’s cathedral looks better than Los Angeles’ monstrosity.
Nonetheless, it heartens me that Albion’s Roman communities are keeping alive its choral traditions.
To everyone on the old calendar, I wish you a lovely feast of the Annunciation!
A few months ago, my friend Andrew sent me a Spanish version of “O Pure Virgin” by Nectarios of Aegina:
The singer is Fr. Elias, who also happens to be a music professor. He serves the mission of San Nicolas de Mira in Caracas, Venezuela. Many blessings to the Orthodox community there!
For those on the old calendar, have a blessed feast. For today, the second of February on the Church calendar, is the Meeting of Our Lord, also called Candlemas in the West.
Here is a beautiful rendition of the Prayer of Saint Simeon by the choir of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery.
I do not know the setting, but it is lovely. Perhaps my favorite musical piece is Rachmaninov’s version, which I have posted before: “The Prayer of Saint Simeon.” What inspiration! I venture that Cecilia, Notkar Balbulus, John Koukouzelis, and Hildegard must really enjoy Sergei Vasilievich’s company.