Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450/55 — 1521)
Gaude virgo mater Christi
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 — 1611)
Alma Redemptoris mater a 8 voci, antiphon (before 1581)
Adrian Willaert (ca. 1490 — 1562)
Ave regina coelorum
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 — 1750)
Ich lasse dich nicht, motet BWV 1164 (1712, 1735)
Knut Nystedt (1915 — 2014)
Immortal Bach (1988)
Alfred Schnittke (1934 — 1998)
Three Sacred Hymns (1984)
- Our Father
- Lord Jesus Christ
III. Hail Mary, Full of Grace
Nicolas Gombert (ca. 1495 — ca. 1560)
Lugebat David Absalon, motet (undated)
Antonio Lotti (1667 — 1740)
Crucifixus a 8 voci from Credo in F Major (before 1717)
Andreas Moustoukis (b. 1971)
The Liturgy of St. Leontius, Part III (2021)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 — 1847)
Warum toben die Heiden, psalm No. 2 from the cycle “Three Psalms for Soloists and Choir”, Op. 78 (1844)
Francis Poulenc (1899 — 1963)
O magnum mysterium
Chief Choirmaster and Conductor – Vitaly Polonsky
Hodie Christus natus est, motets No. 1 and 4 from the cycle “Four Christmas Motets”, FP 152 (1952)
The Christmas programme of the musicAeterna Choir spans over the period of 600 years encompassing pieces of spiritual music written from the 16th to the 21st century. It opens and concludes with compositions dedicated to the holy Christmas Day, but covers all the key moments of life when one turns to Christ.
After the three Marian Renaissance motets by Josquin des Prez, Tomás Luis de Victoria and Adrian Willaert, Johann Sebastian Bach’s motet Ich lasse dich nicht (“I Will Not Let You Go Until You Bless Me”) set to the text from the Book of Genesis, which tells about the mysterious and meaningful meeting of Jacob with God, sounds in sudden contrast. This motet, in turn, enters into a dialogue with the chorale by the modern Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt Immortal Bach, which transforms the first stanza of Bach’s funeral chorale Komm, süßer Tod (“Come, sweet death”) into a shimmering, melting echo of voices repeating the same phrase at different tempos again and again.
Three Sacred Hymns by Alfred Schnittke – Orthodox prayers for every day – meet with David’s lament for his son Absalom in the Renaissance motet by the composer of the Franco-Flemish school Nicolas Gombert, a fragment of the Liturgy of St. Leontius by musicAeterna resident composer Andreas Mousotukis, and a dramatic chorale Crucifixus (“Crucified”) by Baroque master Antonio Lotti.
Only after going through the full cycle of human life, the concert programme returns to its title theme. In the finale, two chants from the Christmas cycles will be performed. Felix Mendelssohn’s psalm Warum toben die Heiden (“Why Do the Nations Rage?”), written for the Christmas service of 1843, literally depicts the transition from militancy to pacification. And only the psalms by Francis Poulenc from the cycle “Four Christmas Motets” are filled with unalloyed joy for the Christmas miracle.