Saturday, December 20, 2008

have yourself a medieval Christmas

This is one of those things I've tripped over this holiday season. I love medieval music and especially for Christmas time, so I checked out You Tube videos and came upon numerous renditions of Gaudete. Now I can't get enough of this piece in all its varied interpretations by different individual artists and choirs. I'd never heard of Gaudete before, but when I read that it originated from a songbook published in Finland in 1582 the half-Finn in me sighed.

The video below, while not the highest quality audio, features a group that performed Gaudete in madrigal style. The scene reminded Mike and me of this photo I took at The Cloisters Museum & Gardens in New York on our wedding day.

Mars Hill Academy in Mason, Ohio performs Gaudete from Piae Cantiones.
December, 2007; Madrigal Dinner......

The following is from information found online:


Anonymous (16th century)

Gaudete was made (relatively) famous in the 1970s when it was performed and recorded by the folk rock group "Steeleye Span," and ever since it has been included in a large number of Christmas collections ...[Note: you can hear the Steeleye Span version of Gaudete here.]


The original author is of "Gaudete" is unknown, although it is sometimes mistakenly attributed to a composer by the name of "Piae Cantiones". Piae Cantiones was in fact a songbook published in Finland in 1582, which contained the first published edition of Gaudete. The songbook had the full title of "Piae Cantiones Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum" (Devout ecclesiastical and scholastic songs of the old bishops), and contained a collection of Latin songs, intended for the pupils of church and cathederal schools. Piae Cantiones did not include music for the verses; these were to be sung to a well-known colloquial tune.....

The Music

These midi files should give you a fair idea of what each piece - and each individual voice part - sounds like, especially if you're unfamiliar with reading music.



Di Mackey said...

This is stunning. Thanks.

Lydia said...

Thank you for appreciating it!

JT said...

Interesting, never heard of Gaudete myself yet alone it being first(?) published in Finland :)

Lydia said...

Hi JT,
Yup, it appears that this is a claim to fame for your homeland. I think Gaudete is fantastic!
Happy New Year to you.



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