Three Latin Christmas Motets
  • Please allow me to introduce myself, as I am new to his forum. Being a relatively new composer/arranger who's passion is enhancing liturgical worship, I have listened with great interest to many of the wonderful new compositions posted here. I am hoping to learn from, and develop relationships with, other traditional/liturgical composers/arrangers. I don't have recordings of most material because I just started during the COVID lockdowns. Therefore, most of my audio samples come from computer generated instruments and voices. This one is an exception. Although my son and I live 4000 miles apart, we were able to collaborate to create an audio of these Three Latin Christmas Motets for TTBB (a format not typical of my work, unfortunately). Most of my material is hymn settings, simple SA(T)B choir anthems and various arrangements for organ, organ and brass, and string quartet.
  • Welcome to the comment side of the forum. Thank you for the contribution of Three Latin Christmas Motets. (Contributing thusly isn't a requirement, by the way.)

    You name two of the motets by their incipits. Is there a reason you didn't do that for the third?

    Thanked by 1Marek66
  • Beautiful! Well done, and hope you keep writing. Thank you for sending these in!

    (I am unsure about some of your spelling/enharmonic choices, but not sure if I have better suggestions)
  • Your setting of Hodie Christus est Natus is wonderful! (They all are, and thank you for posting recordings of real voices!)
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,436
    Beautiful indeed, and the note spelling seems logical enough to me. I had to be reminded myself quite recently that "prophesy" and "prophecy" are spelt differently, though ;-)
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • Thanks for the feedback. Already I am learning. Never having had any formal musical training in either theory or performance, I have to confess I had to research "incipit" and "enharmonic". I see multiple errors I've made regarding enharmonic (assuming I correctly understand that term). I can't really blame the software for that. I try to keep accidentals (other than naturals) the same as the key (i.e., if the key signature has flats, accidentals should also be flats). Even so, I failed miserably in that regard and appreciate you pointing that out. It's rather embarrassing and I will fix it. I also may have not done Latin syllables (maybe even spelling?) correctly. Indeed, I mixed up "prophesy" and "prophecy". Now that's REALLY embarrassing. I hate spell check. "Coded message from Missile Command sir: we are go for lunch." I'm not sure about "incipits", but I may not correctly understand that term. All three are named after the opening words of the texts. Anyway, I REALLY appreciate everyone taking the time to QA the work and point out errors. I have about 100 things self-published on my own website and I'm going to go back and review them all to make sure I've not made similar errors. Since this is the only Latin I've done, at least I know I haven't repeated all the linguistic errors. Thanks again.
  • Mark, I would love to peruse the rest of your catalogue. I yahoogled your name but didn’t find your website.
  • Fascinatinger and fascinatinger.

    "Incipit" is Latin for "he begins", roughly. Musically speaking, it refers to the practice of having a few of the first notes of a chant sung by a single voice, called a cantor. In the context I've used the word, I mean "the first words". "The Purpose" is the name of the 3rd motet, but not the first words of the text you've set. What I'm curious about is why you followed this practice only once out of the three motets.


  • Chris, I'm not sure I understand you, since there is both a main title and a subtitle for all three, and all three are subtitled with their respective incipit, including the third, Agnus Dei.
  • M.R. Taylor,

    Oh well!
  • Serviam, I'm too new and too unknown to show up on any search engine. And I'm not doing any active marketing because I offer it all for free. My website is
  • Serviam (James), thank-you for your comments on YouTube. But better than the comments, I then had the chance to view material on your channel and your website. I REALLY like your composition style. Frankly, I didn't find anything I didn't like. I share your goal of writing material that is approachable by church musicians of modest skills. These motets were just one of two instances where I strayed into more complex waters. Generally, my stuff is dirt simple (as I'm sure you noticed) and probably would be viewed with a certain degree of disdain by more accomplished musicians. There is so much on your website that I think may usable at my church. I found your "Meditation on Thaxted" captivating. I'll be passing this along to our organist and choir director. Thanks again.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,791
    Brilliant, with some imaginative scoring & harmonies! All three are wonderful. I especially like the opening (and closing) of "O magnum mysterium" (the harmonies remind me a bit of my of "Bring us, O Lord God").

    Since you are offering your works for free, you might well consider publishing (posting) them at (where several of us here post our works for wider circulation). If you have questions or need help, just let me know (I've been an admin there for 15 years and just stepped down from the presidency in October).

    Again, beautiful work, with a freshness that serious contemporary sacred music needs.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,257
    Mark, there is nothing wrong with writing ‘simple’ music! In fact, there is a genuine need for high-quality simple music out there; there’s a flood of poor-quality music floating around, but “simple” and “low-quality” are hardly synonyms. Don’t undersell yourself! Your approachable style of music that is relatively ‘contemporary’ (I use this term with trepidation) but still rings clearly as appropriate for church choirs, fills a real need. I think I may put both of those works I commented on in front of my choir. And thank you for your very kind words regarding my channel too. I ran out of time to go through more of your stuff but plan on reviewing more.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen