Christmas Traditional

Unto Us Is Born A Son (Puer nobis nascitur; Piae Cantiones, 1582)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The Piae Cantiones was a book of 74 Latin hymns originating in the mid- to late-medieval times. The contents were assembled by Swedish Lutheran cleric Jaakko Suomalainen and published in Sweden through the efforts of T.P. Rutha, a Finnish Catholic student. Unto Us Is Born a Son first appeared in a fourteenth century manuscript from Germany, making it 200 or more years old when it was first published. Its text speaks of the birth of Christ and of his mission on Earth. The melody is glorious in its triumphant character and ecstatic devotional sense. In its first phrase, it more than vaguely resembles the opening notes to the much more modern and popular Christian hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past. It may, in fact, be a thematic ancestor to the melody in that hymn, since the contours of both themes are quite similar as well. In any event, Unto Us Is Born a Son is a radiant hymn of strong appeal, brighter and more colorful than most of the chants emerging from and before the fourteenth century.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 OUR Recordings 6220615
    2015 Decca 4788918
    2014 Sony Classical 88875037702
    2013 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186198
    2012 Atoll ACD 342
    2012 Classic FM 28948069965
    2012 ABC Classics ABC 4810033
    2011 Decca
    2010 Music Digital MDD 2007
    2010 Decca
    2010 Document 224065
    2009 EMI Classical / EMI Classics 686082
    2008 Legacy / Play 24-7 PLAYX02
    2008 Echo Bridge Home Entertainment / Platinum Disc 4083
    2008 Martingale 700702
    2007 Music Club International Records / Music Club Records MCCDX 042
    2007 Kings Road 61
    2007 Signum UK 108
    2006 Crimson Productions 284
    2005 Blumountain Records 907332
    2005 Sain 2317
    2005 Philips / Universal 4756398
    2005 EMI 3380822
    2005 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    2005 Decca 4756655
    2005 London/Decca 005302
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 66923
    2004 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Brentwood Records 40558
    2004 Gothic Records 49235
    2003 CRD Records 5001
    2003 Naxos 8557160
    2003 Gothic Records 49131
    2002 Avalon Records 24407
    2002 Priory Records 4000
    2002 Decca 4736282
    2002 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Brentwood Records 258
    2002 Koch / Chandos 6670
    2002 Direct Source 19592
    2001 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 62581
    2001 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 311
    2001 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 60356
    2001 Guild GMCD 7226
    2001 Priory Records 706
    2001 Fine Tune 3362
    2000 Fine Tune 3321
    2000 Platinum Entertainment 1469
    2000 Tring 083
    1999 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 12702
    1999 Priory Records 604
    1999 Priory Records PRCD-604
    1999 Echo Bridge Home Entertainment / Platinum Disc 10922
    1999 Afka / Afka 547
    1998 Intersound 2856
    1998 SOMM 211
    1998 Virgin 8747462
    1997 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / BCI Music 243
    1997 BCI Music / BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 2433
    1995 Conifer Classics / Conifer 75605517542
    1995 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / Brentwood Records 62582
    1995 Tall Poppies 16
    1995 Decca / London / PolyGram 4448482
    1995 London / PolyGram 444848
    1994 Naxos 8550589
    1994 Priory Records 405
    1993 Herald Records HAVPCD 143
    1990 Philips / Philips 420180
    1990 Decca 4300892
    Evosound 70
    Regent 124
    GHF Music
    Conifer 15907
    Marks & Spencer 2203
    Chandos CHAN-8485
    Platinum Disc Corpora 12702
    ABC Classics 4801489
    MUF 001
    Bayard Musique 9630932
    Music Inc. 1003
    Herald Records 143
    Boston Skyline BSD 124
    ABC Classics 4763682