The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus

For Christmas

Words and Music: Latin Traditional, found in Piae Cantiones, 1582
Translation: At This Time Of Grace

MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
Sheet music available at RoDeby Music Company

See: Theodoric Petri, ed., Piae Cantiones Ecclesiasticć Et Scholasticae Et Scholasticae Vetervm Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdić: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582).

Source: Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pić Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910) , #14, p. 20. Notes on pp. 229-230. See: Christmas Songs in Woodward's Pić Cantiones (1910).

Gaudete! Gaudete!
Christus est natus ex Maria virgine,

1. Tempus adest gratić, hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina letitić devotč reddamus.

2. Deus homo factus est, Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est Christo regnante.

3. Ezechielis porta clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta, salus inuenitur.

4. Ergo nostra concio psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino; salus Regi nostro.

Editor's Note:

Another version clearly has the first verse here as a burden, sung before the other verses, and after each verse. The numbering of the verses does not occur in the text, but is inferred from a remark by Woodward in the notes where he mentions that the third stanza, “Ezechielis porta,” is found in other manuscripts.

Theodoric Petri, ed., Pić Cantiones Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdić: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582)

Sheet Music and Notes from Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Pić Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song, chiefly Ancient Swedish, originally Published in A. D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Nyland. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910), Carol #14, pp. 20, Notes p. 229-230.

pc-020.jpg (45323 bytes) pc-229.jpg (94502 bytes) pc-230.jpg (94451 bytes)

See: The Christmas Songs in Woodward's Pić Cantiones (1910)

Rev. Woodward's note On #XIV, Gaudete, Gaudete, Christus Est Natus, pp. 229-230.

Text reprinted by Klemming (1886), p.28.

The four-part setting, in close score, with the Plainsong probably in the Tenor, stands as given by Pić Cantiones.

Rhezelius, in his 'Nĺgre Psalmer' (1619), prints a Swedish translation of this Gaudete, with instruction that it is to be sung to the tune of Vitamg1 Faciunt beatiorem, i.e. 'Vitam quć faciant beatiorem,' by Martial, Epp., Lib. X, No. 47, the same metre as Catullus' 'Viuamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,' No. v. in the metre technically known as the Hendecasyllabic Phalecian, consisting of a spondee, a dactyl, and three trochees.

Rhezelius (ibid.) gives the option of another melody, that of Tacker Herra nom fom a ganska bljder, whatever that may be.2 According to Zahn (Vol. I of his 'Die Melodien,' etc., pp. 7 and 8, No. 12) it was Joh. Spangenberg (in his 'Gramaticć latinć partes . . . in usum iuuentutis Northusianć congestć, . . . 1546'), who first printed a four-part setting of Vitam quć saciunt beatiorem, which setting is almost, note for note, identical with that of Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus in Pić Cantiones. But it will be observed that Ex Maria virgine, gaudete is one syllable short, and fails to coincide with the metre of iucundissime Martialis, hćc sunt. Zahn further informs us that the above setting, to the words Danket dem Herren, denn er ist so freundlich, is to be found in Nigidius (1550); in Rihel (1569); in Sunderreiter (1581); and elsewhere. He also mentions that the Tenor Melody had already been twice harmonized in Ludwig Sensi's collection (1534); that, though the Descant lived on until 1648—being harmonized as a distinct melody by B. Gesius (1601), and by M. Prćtorius (1612), and others—yet in the long run (contrary to the general rule and unlike the fate, e.g., of Puer natus in Bethlehem) the upper part failed to get the upper hand of the Air in the Tenor, which latter, true to its name, has held its own, and has been fairly well known from 1546 down to the present day [e.g., 1902].

This Gaudete is possibly a Refrain to the Cantia that follows, Tempus adest gratić: but it will be noticed that, unlike the rest of Pić Cantiones, no tune for the latter is provided. Was it an oversight on the editor's part, a printer's error? Or was the quire expected, without rubric, to sing this Cantia to the tune of Tempus adest floridum (No. LII)?

It is remarkable that the 3rd stanza, Ezechielis porta, is found in one or other of three manuscripts of the early fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at Prag (Dreves, 'Cantiones Bohemicć,' I, No. 80, p.107), with the Rundreim 'Gaudete, gaudete | cum domino nascente | mundus renouatus est | populo mirante.' | cf. Pić Cantiones, Stanza II. According to some authorities, it was sung to Singuli catholice (see Dreves, I, No. 129, p. 138), from the Prag manuscript, VI, B. 24, early sixteenth century.

In the Dorian, or Hypo-Dorian Mode, transposed.

Editor's Notes.

1. This font lacks a special character similar to the lower-case “g” that is in this text.

2. Woodward's words, not your Editor's.

Sheet music to "Vitam quć saciunt beatiorem" from Johannes Zahn, Die Melodien deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder. Erster Band-Vol. I. (Gutersloh: Bertelsmann, 1889) , No. 12, p. 7, citing Spangenberg, 1546.

Vitum_quae-Zahn-I-12-p7.jpg (78004 bytes)

Sheet music to "Vitam quć saciunt beatiorem" from Johann Spangenberg, Grammaticae Latinae Partes (1546)

Vitam quae-Spangenberg-Grammaticae-1546-p287.jpg (64575 bytes) Vitam quae-Spangenberg-Grammaticae-1546-p288.jpg (77842 bytes)

Some authorities referred to in this text:

Ludwig Sensi's collection (1534)

B. Gesius (1601)

Editor's Note.

Rev. Woodward refers to the tune in "Tempus adest floridum" ("Spring has unwrapped her flowers"), (No. LII), a 13th Century spring carol. This tune was adapted by Rev Helmore in the well-known carol, Good King Wenceslas. The text in the Latin has no relation to the English text written by Neale.

Sources of Latin hymns found in Piae Cantiones:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols