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A Villa Lobos 
Christmas Gift

Corydon Singers - Villa-Lobos
In 1952 Villa Lobos wrote a choral piece entitled "Praesepe," based on a medieval Christmas poem. This beautiful piece is for a choir, singing in four voices without words, and a mezzo-soprano soloist, who sings the charming Latin words of a homespun nativity scene. This version of the piece is by the Corydon Singers, conducted by Matthew Best. The soloist is mezzo soprano Ansy Boothroyd.
Thanks to Hyperion Records for giving their permission for us to mount this lovely piece, flawlessly interpreted, expertly recorded, and perfectly timed for the season. Merry Christmas!
Download an MP3 file (64 KB/sec) of Praesepe (right-click and choose "Save As". Or, listen to a WAV file (5 MB).  You can buy the album at or or from your local record store.
Check out the Cantus Quercus Press website for information on the score of Praesepe, which is available at a very reasonable price.  The site includes samples of the score.


Music (1952) by Heitor Villa Lobos
Poem 'Beata Virgine' (1563) by Padre Jose de Achieta

[An!] S ed iuvat interia tanti primordia partus, 
[Um!] Nascentisque urbem volvere mente Dei;
Quae domus excepit Dominum, [An!] quae regia Christum,
Quae dedit infanti culcita blanda torum,
Quae comites sacrae famulaeve fuere parenti,
Qui puero cantus, qui conuere modi:
Nascitur in Bethleem, veteris sub culmine 
Nascentem nudum nuda receptat humus.
Fit Praesepe torus; hinc bos, hinc tardus asellus, 
[Un!] Hinc tacitus pueri pendet in ora senex. 
[Um!] Jubilat alma parens, infantulus ore tenello 
Vagit, inauditis personat aethra modis. 
Text and translation are from the liner notes to the Corydon Singers/Matthew Best Villa Lobos sacred music CD on the Hyperion label (CDA6638, 1992/93.) Used with permission of Hyperion Records.

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