The new Christmas CD 
“Christ is Born” 
(Ancient Hymns of Nativity & Theophany)


Thanks be to God!  A collection of ancient hymns for the weeks preceding the Nativity of Christ, Christmas day itself and the weeks following (including Theophany / Epiphany).  Many of these original melodies and texts are attributed to St. Romanos (6th c.), St. Andrew of Crete (7-8th c.), St. John of Damascus (7-8th c.), St. Cosmas of Maiuma (7-8th c.), St. Theodore the Studite (9th c.), St. Theophanes the Branded (9th c.), and St. Joseph the Hymnographer (9th c.) to name a few.  Some of these special melodies (Prosomia) are set to dozens of other texts throughout the year, as well, in the liturgical books.  They have only recently been metered and transcribed into English.
The music of the ancient Church of Christ was inherited from the worship of the synagogue and the temple in Jerusalem — primarily the Psalms of King David. The Church added its own hymns to this — often reflections on Christ's fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and His work and ministry on this earth — and Christianity spread throughout the whole world. This music, based on the 8 modes or tones, also spread and became the basis for Gregorian chant in the West and later ancient Russian chant (Znamenny, Kievan, etc.). These modes or tones can still be heard in the various folk music of Europe and the middle East and were the basis for melodic themes in many of the classical composers, although several of these modes dropped out of use in the West. (For more see the “History of the development of ancient Christian hymns”.)

In recent times, this music has not been heard much in the West, as much of it is in Greek, Arabic or Slavonic and was written using the ancient music notation or neumes. There has been a considerable effort in recent years to transcibe this music into English. This CD — one of many — is offered in the hopes of making our ancient Christian heritage more readily available to the English speaking world.

Contents

The weeks in preparation for the Nativity:        
1) Christ is Born – Nativity Katavasia, 1st Mode   5:25 


Entry into the Temple of the Theotokos (Nov. 21):      
2) Today is the prelude – Apolytikion, 4th Mode   0:43   
3) The sacred treasury – Kontakion, 
4th Mode – Prosomia “Thou Who wast raised up”   0:56 

4) On this day the Virgin cometh – Prefeast Kontakion,
3rd Mode – Prosomia “On this day the Virgin”  1:15 

Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (Dec. 11-17):      
5) As we the faithful celebrate – Lord I have cried stichera 
Plagal 4th Mode – Prosomia “The Paradise of Eden”   2:54   
6) By faith didst Thou justify – Apolytikion, 2nd Mode    0:56 
7) O House of Ephratha – Aposticha stichera (Dec. 20) 
Let us all celebrate – Praises Stichera
2nd Mode – Automelon / Prosomia “O House of Ephratha”   0:59   
8) A hand-wrought image – Kontakion, 2nd Mode    0:54 

Sunday before the Nativity of Christ (Dec. 18-24):      
9) O pure living palace – Lord I have cried stichera 
1st Mode – Prosomia “O all-lauded martyrs”   2:08 
10) Great are the achievements – Apolytikion, 2nd Mode    0:40 
11) Be thou ready, Bethlehem – Apolytikion (Dec. 20-23),
4th Mode (hard chromatic) – Prosomia “Joseph was amazed”   1:29 
12) Little Bethlehem, ready thyself – 1st Kathisma Hymn, 
Plagal 1st Mode – Prosomia “Let us worship the Word”    0:49 
13) Be glad, O little Bethlehem – Exapostilarion, 
2nd Mode – Prosomia “Upon that mount in Galilee”    1:04 
14) Sion, thou sacred city – Praises stichera, 
Plagal 1st Mode – Prosomia “Rejoice”   2:44 
15) O Bethlehem, rejoice – Kontakion, 
1st Mode (soft chromatic) – Prosomia “The soldiers standing guard”   0:49 
The Nativity of Christ our God (Dec. 25):      
16) Thy Nativity, O Christ our God – Apolytikion, 4th Mode  0:43 
17) Psalm 50 – Idiomela, 2nd Mode and Plagal 2nd Mode   3:26 
18) O my soul, magnify – 9th Ode (Karam), 1st Mode  1:10 
19) From the heights our Savior, Christ – Exapostilarion, 
3rd Mode – Automelon “From the heights our Savior, Christ”   1:06 
20) When it was time – Praises Doxasticon, Plagal 2nd Mode   3:16 
21) O my soul, magnify – Katavasia of 9th Ode, 
1st Mode, (chanted instead of “It is Truly Right”)   2:32 
22) He hath sent redemption – Communion Hymn, 
1st Mode and 3rd Mode   2:00 
The Circumcision of Christ (Jan. 1):      
23) Our human form hast Thou taken – Apolytikion, 
4th Mode – Prosomia “While Gabriel was saying”   0:58 
The Theophany of Christ (Jan. 6):      
24) When Thou, O Lord, was baptized - Apolytikion, 1st Mode  0:56 
25) At Thine Epiphany – 1st Kathisma Hymn,
1st Mode – Prosomia “Awed by the beauty”  1:16 
26) The streams of the Jordan River – 3rd Kathisma Hymn, 
4th Mode – Prosomia “Be quick to anticipate”   0:45 
27) On this day Thou hast appeared – Kontakion, 
4th Mode (like 3rd) – Automelon “On this day Thou hast appeared”  0:48 
28) As many as have been baptized – Anti-Trisagion, 1st Mode   1:55 
29) O my soul, magnify – Katavasia of 9th Ode, 
2nd Mode, (chanted instead of “It is Truly Right”)  2:39 
30) The grace of God – Communion Hymn, 
Plagal 1st Mode and Plagal 4th Mode  2:44 
31) Our God is in Heaven – Great Prokeimenon, Plagal 3rd Mode   1:10

Christ is Born

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