Richard Lambert Music

Hodie Christus natus est (Op.46 No.1)

A lively Christmas motet for a cappella SSATB choir

Composed in 2012, as the first of two Christmas motets, this short work is a setting for unaccompanied five-part choir. The text, paraphrasing St Luke’s Gospel 2 : 11, 13-14, comes from the liturgy of the vesper service for Christmas Day. It is dedicated to Rodney Parker.

Set in a Lydian mode (with prominent sharpened 4ths), the setting is both declamatory and antiphonal in style. The homophonic responses are choral fanfares, using tonal cluster chords to evoke the triumphant atmosphere. Continually changing time signatures, and contrapuntal echoes in stretto, reinforce the restless, excitable mood. Despite the short duration, the work rises from its initial F tonality, through a section in G, to conclude in an A Lydian mode. The final “Christus” is the most dissonant chord of all, yet encapsulates the overall air of rejoicing.

Hodie Christus natus est
hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
laetantur Archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluja.

Today Christ is born;
today the Saviour hath appeared;
today the Angels sing,
the Archangels rejoice;
today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest. Alleluia!


1.  23 January 2014 in Clare College Chapel, Cambridge. Choir of Clare College, directed by Graham Ross.


…I’m pleased you enjoyed the performance that we gave on Thursday. We much enjoyed working on ‘Hodie Christus natus est’ and I was delighted to be able to conduct the first performance. I wish you well with all your forthcoming projects, and hope we can welcome you back at Clare soon.

Graham Ross, Director of Music, Clare College, Cambridge



This recording of Hodie Christus natus est was produced using computer software called Sibelius: it is not a live recording.


You can purchase the score of Hodie Christus natus est from Encore Publications.

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