Sacred Treasures of Christmas

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SACRED TREASURES OF CHRISTMAS is a new recording from the boys of the London Oratory Schola, directed by Charles Cole. The Schola is one of the top boys’ choirs in the world and sings at the London Oratory. The boys, aged 8-18, are all pupils at The London Oratory School.

The Choir’s Director, Charles Cole said: “We are delighted to present our newest album which we recorded earlier this year. ‘Sacred Treasures of Christmas’ focuses on some of the most iconic polyphonic works written for the Christmas liturgy. These motets, rendered so beautifully by the greatest masters of the Renaissance, capture the awe, mystery and effusive joy of the Nativity.”

Sacred Treasures of Christmas, a sequence of music for Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas, continues the ‘Sacred Treasures’ series, an anthology of sacred repertoire drawn from the liturgical motets which the boys sing at the London Oratory.

Charles Cole continued: “Through these recordings, the Schola seeks to bring to a wider audience the music which adorns the liturgies at the London Oratory. These motets have an important function within the liturgy and are not solely beautiful works of art to be appreciated in a removed context such as a museum or art gallery. Their sacred purpose, the way they are experienced by the boys who sing them, and the manner in which they are heard at the Oratory, are before all else within the liturgical context.”

The motets on the new album celebrate the Nativity itself, before moving on to the Feast of the Epiphany and the Adoration of the Magi, and concluding with the Purification of the Virgin. Amongst the composers represented are Victoria, Guerrero, Palestrina, Lassus, Clemens, Sheppard and Tallis.

Sacred Treasures of Christmas from London Oratory Schola on Vimeo.

For more information, visit Hyperion or the London Oratory Schola websites.

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Bread From Heaven: New Book of English Eucharistic Motets

An announcement from my colleague Heath Morber:

At the behest of (and with the help of) my colleague Ben Yanke, I’ve just released a collection of motets entitled “Bread From Heaven”, drawn from existing works from the Renaissance masters and set with English Eucharistic texts.

These are two- and three-part motets from des Pres, di Lasso, and Palestrina, drawn mostly from excerpts within their Latin Mass settings. Using seven Eucharistic texts (the “Ad Libitum” antiphons in the Roman Gradual), I fitted the English text to the original notes (modifying some rhythms) and transposed each for multiple voice configurations (SA, AT, SAT, ATB, etc.) Each text has a two- and three- part setting and multiple editions for a total of 14 different motets with 49 total settings!

I’ve sung nearly all of these with students here at St. John’s in Champaign, IL and they’ve been perfect for times when I can only round up a talented cantor or two and want something dignified to use for communion.

The collection can be found at lulu.com, direct link here:

Coil-Bound | Paperback

Please note the extensive sample (also available here); it gives you a good feel for the flavor of the whole collection.

I do hope that this will be a great resource for your music program!