Hodie Christus natus est

This Christmas we count down the days with an advent calendar of the 25 best Christmas carols ever written, as voted for by 50 top choral experts from the across the UK and US.

6 December: Hodie Christus natus est

Words: Traditional

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Music: Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Best known for his finely wrought keyboard works, early 17th-century Dutch composer Sweelinck also wrote some heavy-weight choral music, of which this joyful carol is one of his best examples. Taken from his second book of Latin motets, the 1619 Cantiones Sacrae, this sparkling, three-minute carol isn’t harmonically or contrapuntally complex, but it manages to create the illusion of constant movement by swapping little melodic ideas back and forth between the five parts.

December 1: Silent Night

December 2: The Lamb

December 3: Three Kings

December 4: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen!

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December 5: The Sans Day Carol