Four Christmas Motets

  • Virga Jesse
  • Puer Natus
  • Nesciens Mater
  • Gaudete Omnes


These four motets aim to create a fresh and dramatic approach to well known ancient texts.  They are intended to be sung either as a complete set in the context of a concert or as individual items within a carol service or other liturgical setting.

Virga Jesse calls for an atmosphere of timelessness and deep prayer which may be made all the more meditative by the hushed alleluias.  Puer Natus should be an unabashed announcement to the world of the life-changing news of Christ’s birth, with the rhythmic propulsion and more explosive alleluias painting a scene of unrestrained celebration.  Nesciens Mater essentially pays homage to those great Renaissance polyphonists who paved the way of the major and minor key system. It was the expressive and uniquely characterful nature of the individual voice parts which not only gave their music life but also a profound spirituality, and it is hoped that something of this same spirituality is in evidence here.  After the opening unison ‘fanfare’ of Gaudete Omnes, the syncopated rhythms and agile melodic elements of the motet should pass freely between the voices, creating a sense of dialogue and, ultimately, elation.

12 minutes

unaccompanied SATB


Hawes Music


Available from

Hawes Music
JW Pepper
Music Room
Music Shop Europe

1. Virga Jesse

Virga Jesse floruit:
Virgo Deum et hominem genuit:
pacem Deus reddidit,
in se reconcilians ima summis.

The rod of Jesse hath blossomed:
a Virgin hath brought forth God and man:
God hath restored peace,
reconciling in Himself the lowest with the highest.

2. Puer Natus

Puer natus in Bethlehem, alleluia!
Unde gaudet Jerusalem, alleluia!

In cordis jubilo,
Christum natum adoremus
Cum novo cantico.
Puer Natus in Bethlemem!

Assumpsit carnem Filius, alleluia!
Dei Patris altissimus, alleluia! Refrain.

Per Gabrielem nuntium, alleluia!
Virgo concepit Filium, alleluia! Refrain.

In hoc natali gaudio, alleluia!
Benedicamus Domino, alleluia! Refrain.

A child is born in Bethlehem, alleluia!
Exult for joy, Jerusalem, alleluia!

With an exultant heart,
Let us adore the new-born Christ,
With a new song.
A child is born in Bethlehem!

The Son of God the Father, alleluia!
In the highest has taken flesh, alleluia! Refrain

By angel Gabriel announced, alleluia!
The virgin has conceived the Son, alleluia! Refrain

Come then, and on his natal day, alleluia!
Rejoice before the Lord and pray, alleluia! Refrain

3. Nesciens Mater

Nesciens mater virgo virum
peperit sine dolore
salvatorem saeculorum.
Ipsum regem angelorum
sola virgo lactabat,
ubere de caelo pleno.

Knowing no man, the Virgin mother
bore, without pain,
the Saviour of the world.
Him, the king of angels,
only the Virgin suckled,
breasts filled by heaven.

4. Gaudete Omnes

Gaudete omnes et laetamini,
quia ecce desideratus advenit.
Introite in conspectu eius in exultatione.
Scitote quoniam ipse est expectatio nostra.

Rejoice and be glad all of you,
for behold he for whom you longed comes.
Enter into his presence with singing.
Know that he is our hope.

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