Monday, November 21, 2016

New Original Advent Music! And it's Actually Good! UPDATE!


Here are the winners for the O Emmanual Giveaway, by username: Alexis Maudlin, Encourager, Droll Mom, Sasha, Vivian Varela, Imperial reaction, Amie, John Burzynski, Matthew Tucker, and artepromusica.  

Congratulation! But you aren't done yet! You must send your real name, address, and zip code to my personal email, which is thesockeys"at"gmail "dot" com    Please do this within a week. If you do not, then I will pick a different name to replace yours.

I will send your names to the publisher, and they will send you the CDs.

As we all know, the Advent season is sorely neglected and pre-empted by a commercialized Christmas season.

I've mellowed somewhat over the years in my annoyance about this, recognizing that lit-up homes and Christmas trees and most of all, Christmas music really do cheer hearts during this rather dreary time of year. (Dreary for us who live in the cold, light-deprived north, that is.) And trying to be an optimist, I can see this as remote preparation for the fullness of seasonal beauty found in the liturgical calendar. If people love carrying out yearly, seasonal rituals, then they are in the frame of mind to eventually  see the sense of doing more and better rituals for the purpose of celebrating and honoring our God.

But I digress. One barrier to observing Advent in our homes is the lack of recorded advent music. In previous years I've promoted Advent at Ephesus, an album of traditional Gregorian chants and a few vernacular hymns for the season.   This year, there's something new.

Really new.

O Emmanuel  is a Cantata (for lack of a better word) of sorts, a collection of  instrumentally accompanied choral pieces with texts based on Sacred Scripture.  Each band on the album is a choral setting for one of the O Antiphons. Most readers of this blog know  exactly what that means. For any newcomers who do  not, the O Antiphons are prayed each night at vespers from December 17th thru 23rd, as an opening to the Magnificat of Our Lady. Each O Antiphon describes a scriptural title of the longed-for Messiah. (Every Catholic has some familiarity with them, since a paraphrase of these  antiphons also make up the verses of the hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel.)

Anyhow, these setting combine old and new musical themes and styles. Each one is given its ancient Latin title (O Sapienta, O  Adonai, O Radix, O Clavis, etc.) and sometimes the Latin text is used. But so many styles of music are used (and even combined within a piece) that the listener will be continually surprised. There's Gregorian chant, classical, jazz, a dash of modern dissonance, African American spiritual, and more.  Although there are occasional adult solos, the album features the Notre Dame Children's choir, a national touring choir of 200 very talented kids. I don't know about you, but there's something about kids singing (even when they're not all that talented) that always moves me. When they're this good, the effect is amazing.   I wish I could give this CD to every parish music director who thinks the only music children can enjoy is schmaltz  from that old "Glory and Praise" hymnal. Children have the intelligence to appreciate and perform good music. They should not be insulted with junk. (Sorry for the rant.)

Right now, O Emmanuel is #1 on the Billboard Classical chart and it's high on the Christmas music chart as well. Go here to listen to some samples.And watch the video where the composer talks about Sacred Music.

If you like what you hear, then come back here and enter a giveaway!  The nice people at Dynamic Catholic would like ten lucky Coffee&Canticles readers to have a free copy of this CD. Just write the name of your favorite O Antiphon (in Latin or in English).  At the end of the week ten names will be selected at random.   Now, make sure you come back to the blog to see whether you won, OR make sure that the name on your comment is something I can click on and actually take me to you.

If contests are not your thing and you just want to get the mp3 version, click here.

44 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the recommendation, Daria! This sounds like something I would very much enjoy hearing. I am always on the lookout for good Advent music.
    My favorite O Antiphon is the very first one, because I have always had a devotion to Holy Wisdom:

    O Wisdom of our God Most High,
    guiding creation with power and love:
    come to teach us the path of knowledge!

    Thank you for the fun giveaway!

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  2. I love the O Antiphon "Emmanuel":

    O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
    the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
    Come and save us, O Lord our God.

    "God with us" is such a powerful, beautiful name! And by the power of this holy name, I hope to be selected to receive the lovely Advent CD. God bless you for such an appropriate contest for this blog. :)

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    1. You are a winner! See instructions above.

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  3. O Sapienta is my pick.
    It is my favorite O antiphon and the best track on the album (in my humble opinion).
    Thanks for having this giveaway!

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  4. O Wisdom. Is my favorite. I love the diverse styles in the album. Thanks for the opportunity

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  5. It sounds like a lovely album! Thanks for the giveaway. O Wisdom is my favorite also.

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  6. O Radix would be my favorite...how generous of them to offer you some to giveaway! The samples were lovely and I am always excited to hear about ways to revive the sacred, especially music, in our culture.

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  7. It's hard to decide if O Sapienta or O Radix is my favorite, both speak to my heart. This is such a lovely giveaway, and so generous of the Dynamic Catholic team to make this offer. It would be a thrill to be one of the lucky winners! I'll be sure to check back later in the week to see who won. Happy Thanksgiving to all of the American readers of this blog.

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  8. My favorite is December 21, O Radiant Dawn. December 21 is often the Winter Solstice. Christ is the true Light that can dispel the darkness of doubt, fear and sin. Also, the 21st is my daughter's birthday; she was a beautiful gift whom I will cherish always.

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  9. Can I just like all of them? :-)

    I do love O Radix Jesse. It reminds me of how the coming of Christ shines through the Old Testament, in which his human nature is rooted by generation.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

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    1. You are a winner! see instructions above to get your CD.

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  10. O Oriens! Thanks for making this exciting give-away possible!

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  11. I have never responded to a blog before, but I wanted to enter the give-away on this blog. Amazingly enough, I saw the name, "Victoria," which is my name (!), AND "O Oriens," which is my favorite antiphon, and I thought, "How did I enter this give-away without writing anything? It's a miracle!" My late husband would have called it a "joke of the angels."

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    1. You are a winner. Please follow instructions at top of my post to get your CD

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  12. I'm torn between O Radix Jesse and O Oriens. Thank you did the chance to enter the giveaway.

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    1. You've won a CD! Follow instructions on top of post.

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    2. So excited! A bit of cheer on a dreary day. Thank you so much!

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  13. My family has always been fond of O Adonai. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for highlighting such beautiful, prayerful music for Advent!

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  14. My favourite is "O Oriens" the Dayspring, that by which we orient ourselves, and because I am originally from Newfoundland - the East - form whence came the wise seekers HAHA Peace and Advent Blessings to all!
    Tom

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  15. Roger Wilcox and the London Fox Players have a lovely album that I recently discovered called "Advent Promise" Released about 10 years ago, I just heard some of its music this week for the first time...The English Magnificat choral chant from the Anglican tradition (I think) is very nice.

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  16. I love O Radix. What a lovely and unique album! Thanks for this opportunity!

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  17. Hi Daria, would it be possible if you could make a post about the O Antiphons now that we are coming into Advent?

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    1. Not a bad idea. Or just repost something I wrote about them in the past. We'll see. Does your comment constitute an entry in the giveaway?

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  18. No it doesn't constitue an entry in the giveaway. I was looking at your book on my Kindle for the O antiphons but you only touch the topic lightly so I hope you can post something for us...

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  20. O Oriens! So glad to find more Advent music.

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  21. I got to hear a preview of this and would love to win it and hear the whole thing!
    My favorite O Antiphon: O Radiant Dawn (though I do like the poetic version, "Dayspring from on high" in "O Come O Come Emmanual").

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  22. O Oriens......shorter days need more of the Sun / Son!

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    1. You've won! Read above for instructions on how to claim your CD

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  23. That's a hard call - O Oriens is an easy answer, but for me it's closely tied with O Sapientia:

    O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
    Come and teach us the way of prudence.

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    1. You're a winner. Send me your address (see above) to get your prize.

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  24. O Oriens is my favorite. Thank you!!

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  25. I tried to post earlier, but it got lost? I love most of the "O Antiphons" but if forced to pick one, it would be "O Radix Jesse". It's fierce yet holy. Thank you for the giveaway, too. I listened to "O Emmanuel" via your link and it's wonderful.

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    1. You're a winner. See top of post to send me your mailing info.

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  26. O Adonai is my fav but of course, I love O Emmanuel because He is with us, in the Word and especially in the Eucharist.

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  27. I have a book on the O anti phones by William Marshall that I use as part of my Lenten devotion. The one that speaks to my heart is the O come thou Day Spring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death's dark shadows put to flight.

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  28. I don't have a favorite O Antiphon. (This is my second Advent as a Catholic, first official since I came into the Church at Pentecost). I've got some learning to do before I can pick a favorite. But O Come, O Come Emmanuel has been my favorite "Christmas" song for a few years now. So many lovely versions of it out there.

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    1. YOu're a winner. Follow instructions at top of post to claim your O Emmanuel CD

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    2. Thank you! I just sent you an email.

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  29. Thank you Daria!! I sent info to your email just now!!

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