Monday, December 22, 2008

Introit on Christmas: Puer natus

For many centuries, the first sound on Christmas day was heard in the unmistakable opening notes of "Puer natus est," what was and remains the introit for the Mass on Christmas day in all forms of the Roman Rite. The interval of a fifth in chant usually represents an important announcement, and here is one that is exceedingly important.

I can't think of a better case for replacement the processional hymn (i.e. Christmas song) with the proper introit. We've been hearing carols for weeks, even months. This is only heard at Mass on this one day. Indeed, this stunning song should be heard in every parish in the world on this glorious morning. It is music that is Christmas day.

I like this video of Benedictines in Brazil because it has a certain real-world quality to it, homemade and rough hewn, but you can sense the drama, which is quiet but awe-struck. It beats any carol I can think of.

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