hodie christus natus est (unison)


  • Catalog ID: S-132a
  • First Line: hodie christus natus est
  • Composer: Anonymous 4
  • Voicing: unison
  • Accompaniment: a cappella
  • Language: Medieval English
  • Country: England
  • Series: Anonymous Four
  • Other: 2000 holiday, christmas, sacred
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


This plainchant Magnificat antiphon for Second Vespers of Christmas Day is taken from a British collection of chants for the Divine Office (the daily round of eight services of psalms and prayers).  It is familiar to modern ears as the opening of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

During the high Middle Ages (the twelfth through fourteenth centuries), poets and musicians of the British Isles produced a vast array of songs, ballads, carols, and liturgical works on the topics of the incarnation and the virgin birth.  The number of these pieces is so large that it sometimes seems as if the British invented the celebration of Christmas. 

On Yoolis Night is published in three separate octavos: no. 1: hodie christus natus est / a nywe werk(S-132a); no. 2: ther is no rose of swych vertu(S-132b); no. 3: owt of your slepe aryse(S-132c).  Significant historical and performance information is included in each octavo.

Audio samples from ”On Yoolis Night” used by arrangement with harmonia mundi usa, CD HMU 907099.  audio clip is from no. 2: ther is no rose