Orlando Gibbons

Hosanna to the son of David, anthem for 6 voices

    Description by Timothy Dickey

    The Gospel story of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11) paints a picture of jubilant multitudes. The promised Messiah was taking possession of His kingdom, and the people of the city lined the road, laying their cloaks at His feet. Crowds of children waved palm branches, crying "Hosanna to the Son of David!" This passage provides the text -- and the setting -- for Orlando Gibbons' exultant anthem of that name. Gibbons' Hosanna to the Son of David, a "full anthem" for a choir of six to seven parts, may have originally been composed for a ceremony associated with the English monarchy; both the exuberant music and the textual allusion to Christ the King would have justly honored the divine ruler. The anthem also wore well, becoming a popular addition to seventeenth century manuscript and print collections of English church music. It admirably serves the liturgy of Palm Sunday, as well as other great celebrations and feasts of the church year. Though quite extroverted in outward style, Hosanna to the Son of David follows an elegant internal structure. Five musical phrases gradually expand in breadth, texture, and technique. The opening phrase uses a simple yet splendidly effective melody, placing the text "Hosanna to the son of David" on a wide, upwards leap that then throngs upwards to fill an octave. The upper six voices exult in this melody 12 times, leading to a cadence clearly articulated by an accidental D flat. Two phrases of increasing length follow; Gibbons adds the bass part and uses shorter imitative motives that are often closely spaced in pairs of similar voices. Then the texture ruptures. "Peace in heaven" is simply sing by two antiphonal choirs; the first trio of upper voices hints at angelic music. The counterpoint gradually builds until Gibbons suddenly recapitulates the resplendent opening motive, now to the text "Hosanna in the highest heaven." Yet this is not yet the climax. Once again, the upper six voice parts sing 12 imitative melodies. But this time, the bass voice enters, eliding the cadence, extending the triumphal imitation, and expanding the vocal texture to reach a new breadth of jubilation.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Decca 4788918
    2014 ABC Classics ABC 4811317
    2014 Collegium Records COLCD 137
    2014 ABC Classics 482066
    2014 Linn Records BKD 486
    2012 CCT / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970516
    2012 Heritage 226
    2012 Harmonia Mundi HMU 807555
    2012 Phaia Music PHU 005
    2011 Decca
    2011 Opening Day Recordings ODR7400
    2011 Opening Day Recordings ODR7402
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099968859
    2010 Regis Records 1320
    2010 Musical Heritage Society 5196827
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099922894
    2008 Priory Records 111
    2008 Delos 6011
    2008 Madacy 52955
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099951037
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946389227
    2007 Hyperion 55228
    2007 Warner Classics
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946394430
    2006 Griffin 4053
    2004 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586121
    2004 Calliope 4611
    2004 Avie AV 0032
    2003 EMI Classics 566 2455
    2002 Griffin 4011
    2001 EMI Classics / Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution 5662442
    2001 Pro Organo 7062
    2000 Hyperion 67116
    2000 Holyland Records 14
    1999 Calliope 9611
    1998 EMI Classics / Angel Records / EMI Music Distribution CMS 5662452
    1997 Centaur Records 2308
    1996 Naxos 553130
    1995 Conifer 51231
    1995 RCA 68108
    1995 Collegium Records 302
    1995 Guild 7115
    1994 Delos 3165
    1994 Nimbus 5328
    1993 Collegium Records 107
    1993 Meridian Records 84226
    1993 ASV 123
    1992 Chandos 6560
    Gamut Classics 705
    Quire of Voyces 004
    Madacy 52956