Text Antiphon for Christmas Day
Voicing SATB, organ
Topics Christmas, Angels
Lectionary usage Christmas
Price $3.35 (U.S.)
Length 3' 35" Released 1/2021
Catalog no. 405-217
Difficulty Mod. difficult
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Min. of 5
A lively interplay between choir voices and choir and organ utilizing the pentatonic scale. A festive anthem for Lessons & Carols or Christmas services.
Hodie Christus natus est,
Hodie salvator apparuit,
Hodie in terra canunt angeli,
Hodie exultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Today Christ is born,
Today the Savior appeared,
Today on Earth the Angels sing,
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest.
-Antiphon to the Magnificat sung at Vespers on Christmas Day
Note from the Composer
Pentatonic scales are perhaps the most vocally natural scales that exist. They are the basis of many if not most folk singing traditions and can be extremely comfortable for even the most amateur of singers to latch onto. This piece uses simple pentatonic scales, made more complex by sustained into clusters and being stacked polytonally, combined with
very syncopated rhythms to make a joyous sound that communicates the joy of Christmastime. –S.R.
"Rimkus treats the familiar text of the Christmas antiphon with expansive washes of sound built on pentatonic scales. Staggered entrances and held notes create cluster chords that are reinforced by an accompanimental line tracing pentatonic figuration. Rinkus is more interested in painting an ecstatic image of incarnational joy than in following the text in narrative fashion. Following an extended exposition built only on scalar statements of "Hodie," methodical quarter note motion in the treble voices finishes off the first text phrase while tenors and basses repeat "Hodie" in monotone. Scalar passages resume with the tonal center shifted up a step, and further intensity is gained from more intricate rhythmic activity. The anthem proceeds with alternating sections of chord clusters emerging from pentatonic scales and moments of slow quasi-homophonic movement. The latter include some interesting dissonances that contrast nicely with the smooth veneer of the pentatonic sections. The lack of development or rhetoric in a traditional sense creates a sort of rapturous stasis. Although the anthem has a modest performance time of around three and a half minutes, it piquantly captures a sense of eternity in its joyous basking in washes of sound proclaiming the Incarnation. Part ranges are moderate (however basses spend a fair amount of time above the staff), and the texture never exceeds four voices. This work would suit choirs of all sizes and, with some work, of all abilities." -AAM Journal, Nov. 021