Christmas Traditional

Personent hodie (On this day Earth shall ring) (Piae Cantiones)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The text to Piae Cantiones dates to the twelfth century, but it was not set to its melody until the fourteenth century, perhaps around 1360, when a German version appeared. This Christmas carol was first printed in 1582 in Sweden in the Piae Cantiones, a volume of 74 Medieval songs with Latin texts. It was assembled by Jaakko Suomalainen, a Swedish Lutheran cleric, and published by T.P. Rutha, a Finnish Catholic student, marking a rare collaboration between members of otherwise then-hostile religious sects. The Personent Hodie melody is glorious and ebullient in its lively, triumphant manner. It largely consists of bright, resolute three-note phrases whose overall structure gradually rises, then descends. The music is majestic and confident, quite fitting for its exuberant text, which tells of the birth of Christ. The hymn is thought to have been written to celebrate the December 28 feast day of the Holy Innocents (the children cruelly slaughtered on the orders of Herod). Gustav Holst harmonized Personent Hodie in 1916, and it is his version of the piece that is probably the most commonly performed today. Whether in the Holst or another version, however, this is one of the most attractive early Christmas carols.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Hallé CDHLL 7545
    2015 Westminster Choir College WCC 1510
    2015 Signum Classics SIGCD 387
    2015 Decca 4788918
    2014 Warner Classics 2564628790
    2014 Sony Classical 88875037702
    2013 Discovery / Discovery Music & Vision DMV 107
    2013 Harmonia Mundi HMA 1957079
    2013 ABC Classics ABC 5346760
    2012 Brilliant Classics 9186
    2012 Regent REGCD 374
    2012 Alto 1190
    2012 Classic FM 28948069965
    2012 London Oriana Choir
    2012 Denver Brass DB 8841
    2011 Pilfink Records JJVCD-33
    2011 Harmonia Mundi HMU 807565
    2011 Gothic Records G49227
    2010 RSNO / Signum UK 202
    2009 Centaur Records 3029
    2009 Regis Records 1044
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5150862
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099951037
    2007 Music Club International Records / Music Club Records MCCDX 042
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 5662412
    2007 BIS / Northern Lights Productions 5031
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220598205
    2006 Harmonia Mundi HMX-2977079
    2005 Angel Records / HMV CDCAROL 1
    2005 Gothic Records 49230
    2005 London/Decca 005302
    2005 Decca 4756655
    2005 Gothic Records 49244
    2005 Tantara Records / Tantera 0305PHM
    2004 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586121
    2004 Gothic Records 49235
    2003 Collegium Records CSCD 512
    2003 Naxos 8557330
    2002 Avalon Records 24407
    2002 St. Clair / Premiere / Premiere Music Distribution 62232
    2002 MasterMusic 239
    2002 St. Clair 6378
    2002 Epona / Eroica Distribution 002
    2002 St. Clair / Premiere / Premiere Music Distribution 62192
    2001 Music Club Records 10
    2001 Delos 3267
    2001 Eroica Classical Recordings / Eroica Distribution 30732
    2000 Delos 3267
    2000 Collegium Records COL303
    1999 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 359
    1999 Gothic Records 49109
    1999 Naxos 553578
    1999 Ryko Distribution 30129
    1999 Classics for Pleasure CDCFP 5007
    1998 Excelsior Recordings 2479
    1998 SOMM 211
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 290823/25
    1995 Decca / London / PolyGram 4448482
    1995 London / PolyGram 444848
    1994 Harmonia Mundi HMU-907079
    1994 Philips / Philips / PolyGram 442141
    1994 BIS 120
    1993 Dorian 80104
    1989 Collegium Records COLCD-111
    1988 Nimbus NI-5137
    Hallistic
    Conifer 15907
    Saint Ignatius College Prep
    Kairos 5428
    Pickwick 4009
    Centaur Records 2208
    London/Decca Jubilee / London 425499-2
    London/Decca Jubilee 2LM-425-499
    Fone 9901