Opus 1125

Christus natus est (2015)

for SATB Chorus Unaccompanied

Text by Countee Cullen

Duration: 3 min.

Dedication: for Edward Elwyn Jones and the Harvard University Choir

Commission: Commissioned by The Memorial Church, Harvard University

Publisher: Zimbel Press/Subito Music Corp.

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Christus natus est (2015) was written for the 106th Annual Christmas Carol Services of The Memorial Church, Harvard University, December 2015.

The text is drawn from a poem by the American author Countee Cullen (1903–1946), a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The poem was written in 1943 during World War II, and it proclaims a Christmas message in the midst of the world’s ongoing tragedies. The last stanza’s statement that “The manger still / Outshines the throne” asserting a triumph over earthly tumult.

In Bethlehem
On Christmas morn,
The lowly gem
Of love was born.
Hosanna! Christus natus est.

While beasts in stall,
On bended knee,
Did carol all
Most joyously:
Hosanna! Christus natus est.

He was not born
For bird and beast,
But suffered scorn
To save the least.
Hosanna! Christus natus est.

Who lies in ditch?
Who begs his bread?
Who has no stitch
For back or head?
Hosanna! Christus natus est.

The manger still
Outshines the throne,
Christ must and will
Come to his own.
Hosanna! Christus natus est.