Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius

Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius


Apollo’s Fire
Jeannette Sorrell

Release Date:

6th November 2015

Cat No:





Music for the people could have been the motto for 17th-century German composer Michael Praetorius. He adhered to the ideals of Protestant pioneer Martin Luther – of whom his father was a disciple – that music, like religion, should be open and free to all. Praetorius was an extraordinarily versatile composer and, along with J. S. Bach, was one of the greatest composers of Protestant church music in Germany. With his music, he strived to bring together people of all walks of life – professional singers, congregations, villagers and children alike.

Like the Vespers settings in the 17th century – most notably the Vespers of 1610 by Monteverdi, who inspired Praetorius – this Christmas Vespers is an assemblage of works by Praetorius that Apollo’s Fire’s founder / director Jeanette Sorrell has compiled. It highlights his virtuosic vocal and instrumental writing and includes as interludes his popular carol settings, O Morning Star and Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.


1. PROCESSIONAL: Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (3:15)
Chorale melody by Martin Luther, arrangement/English adaptation Sorrell
Scott Mello & Kirsten Sollek cantors
2. Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (5:09)
Polyphonic setting from Polyhymnia caduceatrix (PC)
3. HYMN: Wachet Auf! From PC (2:47)
    Jolle Greenleaf, Kirsten Sollek, Ryan Turner, Paul Shipper
4. CAROL: Puer Natus in Bethlehem, from PC (4:49)
5. OFFERTORY: Ach, Mein Herre, from PC (7:42)
    Nell Snaidas, Jolle Greenleaf, Sandra Simon
6. CREDO: Wir glauben all (5:35)
Melody by Martin Luther, harmonized setting from Musica Sionae (MS)
    Nell Snaidas, Jolle Greenleaf, Sandra Simon
7. Dances from Terpsichore (4:26)
Bransle de Poictu – Gaillarde – Bransle gay – Bransle simple – Bransle double
8. GLORIA: Glori sei Gott, from PC (6:57)

9. HYMN: Queen Pastores, from Puericinium (3:13)
    Abigail Clark, Allison Paetz, Allison Miller, Patrick Conklin
10. ANTIPHON: Christum wir sollen loben (plainchant) (0:49)
Chorale melody by Martin Luther
11. MAGNIFICAT, Parts I & II, from PC (5:57)
12. CAROL: O Morning Star, from PC (2:57)
     Abigail Clark & Madeline Apple Healey
13.MAGNIFICAT, Parts III & IV (7:32)
14. CAROL: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, from MS (1:40)
15. Our Father in Heaven, from MS (1:02)
16. BENEDICTION: Benedicamus aeterno Regi, from Eulogodia Sionia I (1611) (0:49)
     Paul Shipper
17. ORGAN VOLUNTARY: Nun lob mein Seel, from MS (2:33)
     Michael Sponseller, organ
18. CLOSING HYMN: (7:14)
In dulci jubilo / Good Christian Friends, Rejoice! From PC
Verse 1: Madeline Apple Headley, Jolle Greenleaf, Scott Mello
     Verse 4: Peter Simon, Sandra Simon, Jolle Greenleaf

Total time: 74:40

Recorded December 9 – 13, 2005, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, OH
Producer: Susan Napodano DelGiorno
Recording Engineer: Thomas Knab
Mixing Thomas Knab and Silas Brown
Mastering: Thomas Knab

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