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.
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.