This Christmas Carol is more an “Advent Carol” as the lyrics, from the book of Isaiah (45:8), are frequently sung as a plainsong at Mass and in the Divine Office during Advent where it gives expression to the longings of Patriarchs and Prophets, and symbolically of the Church, for the coming of the Messiah. Throughout Advent it occurs daily as the versicle and response after the hymn at Vespers.
It’s been composed in 2017, and performed by the International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City on the 2nd and 4th of December 2017 at the Saint Paul’s Convent chapel in Ho Chi Minh City.
With Grégory Notebaert I realized several liturgical songs as a Lyricist. He understands the rhythm of words and the dynamics of sentences; his melodies are beautiful and they are dressed in harmonizations that enhance the singing. We are preparing together an upcoming CD with hymns of praise. The composition contest in Lyon in 2018, on the theme Laudato si, was a highlight of our collaboration. His musical work deserves attention.
Gregory Notebaert is an extremely talented composer and director. Having sung under his baton for over three years in the International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City as well as the Saigon Chamber Consort, I have had the chance to sing many of his original compositions. His works are intellectually complex with fascinating rhythmic devices as well as melodically appealing. In my singing career of over 30 years, I have rarely seen a talent such as Greg.
I sang my first arrangement of a Vietnamese carol Cao Cung Lên by Gregory Notebaert in 2015. From that time I have grown to appreciate and love his arrangements and original compositions for choir and orchestra. I have also known Gregory as conductor of both the International Choir & Orchestra of HCMC and the Saigon Chamber Consort where I sang in the bass sections. Gregory’s arrangements and original compositions are both challenging and sensitive to the poetic line of the lyrics. Some of his compositions, like Rorate Cæli Desuper incorporate traditional themes and styles – like Gregorian chant – which make them both appealing to the audience and challenging and fun for the chorister alike.