Composer:   Healey Willan
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   Carl Fisher Inc.
Edition:   CM469
Voicing:   SATB div
Setting:   A Cappella


Michael Tamte-Horan
St. Cloud State 2004
R&R Chair High School Choirs

“Hodie Christus natus est” by the English/Canadian composer Healey Willan is a standard work in the choral repertoire. Although Willan gives the performer the option of singing the work in English or Latin, the latter is definitely preferable. The music is based on the same Christmas antiphon as the familiar setting by 16th century composer Jan Peeters Sweelinck and is written in the style of a Renaissance motet. Willan’s work differs from its earlier predecessors, however, through its inclusion of dramatic, contemporary, parallel chords on the final “Alleluia,” In general the ranges are very good and the few higher tenor notes (high G’s) could easily be reinforced by a few altos if need be. The motet is obviously most appropriate for the holiday/Christmas season and is suitable for better high school, church and community mixed choirs.