Francis Poulenc: Four Motets for Christmas

Francis Poulenc’s Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël, completed in 1952, are inspired by four scenes from the Nativity story.

The first, O magnum mysterium, captures the awe and mystery of the birth of Jesus, and praises the Virgin Mary with a hushed reverence. The second, Quem vidistis, asks the shepherds, “Whom did you see?” The third, Videntes stellam, transports us to the serene, starlit night through which the Magi travel, bearing their gifts. The final motet, Hodie Chistus natus est, is a proclamation of joy, culminating in the words, “Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluia.” The Motets for Christmas contain moments of haunting beauty. In other passages, we hear a jazzy nonchalance characteristic of Poulenc- a kind of musical, je ne sais quoi.

Here is a 1998 recording featuring the Netherlands Chamber Choir, conducted by Eric Ericson:

Recordings

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend