Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Other Modern in Music: Videntes Stellam by Francis Poulenc

A musician friend, Mr Ján Janovčík of the Netherlands-based Early Music ensemble Cantores Sancti Gregorii, recommended this motet by the French composter Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) as a good example in music of what we like to call “The Other Modern”, (i.e., the Modern that doesn’t wallow in ugliness,) usually in reference to things like architecture and vestments. The text is the antiphon for the Magnificat on January 7th, but would be perfect as an Offertory or Communion motet.

Aña Videntes stellam Magi gavisi sunt gaudio magno: et intrantes domum obtulerunt Domino aurum, thus et myrrham.
Aña Seeing the star, the wise men rejoiced greatly; and entering the house, they offered to the Lord gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This recording includes three other motets for the Christmas season, O magnum mysterium, Quem vidistis pastores, Videntes stellam and Hodie Chistus natus est.
And speaking of sacred music, our readers may also be interested in a new streaming radio station, SacredMusicFM, which offers a good mix of Gregorian chant and polyphony 24/7, and can be listened to on the usual range of mobile devices.

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